Unless you’re living under a rock, there will come a time when you are called upon to speak in front of a group. It may be a friendly situation – a toast at your daughter’s wedding. Or it could be a challenging atmosphere – trying to win a new account for your company.
Although some individuals take to a crowd like ducks to water, many folks just seem to view public speaking as something worse than death.
It needn’t be that way! Here are several simple suggestions to help you through your next public speaking experience.
Speak about something you know. You can’t be passionate about a topic if you’re ignorant about the topic. If you are forced into a situation in which you have to speak about something you don’t know – learn it! Do some research.
Rehearse a simple opening and conclusion. It’s always a good idea to let the audience know what you’re about to tell them, and then remind them at the end what points you want them to take away.
Keep it simple. Try to make a handful of main points and support them with examples, stories, statistics, as appropriate. Don’t try to be all inclusive. Decide what is the most important and stick to that! Your audience is not going to retain that much of what you say.
Don’t focus on your own feelings of nervousness. This is easier to say than do, but if you throw yourself into the process of communicating, you may be able to forget about the butterflies.
Let your humanity show. Don’t take yourself so seriously. If you get stuck or lose your place, make light of it. Gather your thoughts and then proceed. If you are connecting with your audience, they will want you to succeed!
Make eye contact. Your audience will trust you if you look them in the eyes. Don’t look down or away. It conveys mistrust.
Practice in advance. There are some who seem to be able to “wing it” in front of an audience. But don’t fool yourself. You’re probably not one of them. There is nothing that builds confidence more than a rehearsed presentation. Preparation, preparation, preparation.
These days, the ability to communicate effectively in front of an audience is crucial to success in virtually any profession. By familiarizing yourself with your topic, preparing your delivery, and focusing on your message, you will be able to get through your next speaking experience intact! Who knows, you may even enjoy it.
For personalized instruction in the art of public speaking, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org