The power of being able to speak in public or before a small group is underestimated. No document or meeting can impact like a presentation or powerful speech. What good is knowledge without being able to share it? What good is desire to influence people if you can’t inspire them?
For many people, the thought of having to speak in public terrifies them.
I love this quote from the book “The Psychology of Winning” by Dennis Waitly - “Winners risk being a fool in the eyes of their colleagues.”
There are only 5 things you need to remember about speaking to an audience :
It is not enough for the content to be important to you - it must be relevant and of value to your audience. Profile Your Audience. What do they already know and what do they need to know?
You cannot teach or present on that which you don’t know thoroughly or don’t have first-hand experience in. One of the most powerful tools in a presentation is to tell stories of your own personal experiences.
The opening should be arresting – grab their attention. Memorise the first 2 or 3 lines of your speech so that you can stand and deliver your opening powerfully.
The main body of your speech should be no more than 5 to 7 key points. Each point can include information, pictures, video or stories to illustrate the particular point or message.
Lastly, summarise the key points of your speech and close with a memorable ending. This could be anything from a funny video, a picture or a meaningful statement.
The number one rule is to be your self, authentic and conversational, but “Be yourself magnified!” Enunciate clearly and speak from the stomach rather than shouting from the throat
Try lowering the pitch of your voice a little. If you use “um” a lot then try shortening your sentences and use silent pause.
Share eye contact with all across the room, not just the friendly. Lock for 3 – 4 seconds then move to someone else.
The day you are not nervous is the day you do not care about your audience. There is nothing worse than an obviously memorized word for word speech and the danger if you forget a word or sentence is that it can totally throw you so that your nerves take over.
- Rehearse the full presentation the day before and memorise the first 2 mins
- Blood to brain not to stomach –“Full stomach = empty head”
- Be early and prepared
- Monitor your inner monologue – positive thoughts only
- Mingle 20 mins prior. It will break the ice
- Find a friendly face to start
- Once you get started you will be fine as you begin to focus on your message.
Know your material then speak naturally to bullet point notes or visual prompts. If your content is great and you are passionate about what you want them to know, then fear will melt away as you get absorbed in delivering your content.