Public speaking can be a very daunting prospect for some, but it is a very important skill to have, for both your personal life and your business life. Particularly in the latter, a confident and clear public speaker reflects positively on your business and says something about the clarity of its vision and purpose.
Of course, speaking confidently in a public space without becoming stressed or jumbling ones words is easier said than done, and in many cases it takes quite some time to perfect.
However, with some of the following tips, you can at very least eradicate any previous bad habits and in doing so, set the groundwork for a successful approach to public communication in the future.
Know Your Material
Have you ever seen someone give a fantastic presentation at an expo? They speak clearly and slowly, yet with plenty of energy and enthusiasm.
In truth, much of this ‘skill’ in fact comes from previous experience and knowing their product or service remarkably well.
In terms of experience, unfortunately, you will more than likely simply have to go head first into presentations and accept that you will find aspects of it daunting at first.
On the other hand, by being confident about what you are saying or about the product you are selling, you will stand a far greater chance of engaging your audience. And remember that nerves can be a good thing. Without them, you could run the risk of delivering a monotonous and highly uninspired presentation to host of disinterested people.
Keep it Natural
There’s nothing worse than sitting down to watch a presentation, only to have it delivered to you by someone who simply reads from a set of cards or from a computer screen. Not only does it suggest that the individual does not know their material by heart, but it is terribly unengaging for the audience. Try to improvise as much as possible. Of course, this doesn’t mean having no guidelines whatsoever.
On the contrary, as previously mentioned you will need to know your pitch incredibly well. But don’t rely on a formulaic, highly pre-meditated presentation. Often keeping things natural allows for a spontaneity that gets your point across in a far more effective fashion.
Obviously though, you need to think about the context of your presentation. For example, you certainly wouldn’t go into an important press release without a clear statement. And in all likelihood you’d probably want to seek some press-specific advice from The Media Mentor about how to address the media as a company representative, without fumbling your words or saying the wrong thing.
Keep it Interesting
Although you certainly wouldn’t want to rely on powerpoint for providing the majority of your presentation, such visual aids can be very effective for engaging people, if complimented by clear and concise verbal support from yourself.
A good approach is to use images as a stimulus to illustrate a concept, then engage people yourself (using good eye contact) in order to achieve a well-balanced, personal and compelling piece of public speaking.