Most People Fear Death Less Than Public Speaking
Public speaking is an art. Whether the group is small or large many people find the process completely overwhelming. Successful presentations require clear delivery that includes proper inflection, pauses, and emphasis.
If you’ve ever had to speak in public before you probably know that feeling of terror you experience when you’re standing in front of a crowd. Unfortunately, there is no magic pill that makes you instantly ready to stand up and dazzle your audience. While some people seem to have the knack for delivering great presentations, others struggle just to get the words out. The good news is that even those of us who don’t possess a natural talent for public speaking can learn this valuable skill with enough preparation, practice and persistence.
The first thing you should know is that you don’t need to be perfect to be a successful public speaker. You don’t need to be witty or brilliant. You just have to be yourself!
What is important in speaking in public is that you give your audience something that is worth their time. If people leave after your speech with something of value, they will consider your talk worth their time. Here are a few tips that can help you deliver a presentation they will remember.
Focus on delivering your main points
While you may be tempted to put in as many facts as possible, along with as much information as you can, into your presentation try not to do this. Instead, focus on one topic emphasizing only three or four main points that will give your audience real value and make a real difference to them.
Inject Some Humor
Adding humor and humility into your presentations is a very good strategy that can help make your speech more informative and entertaining to your audience. Just make sure that you’re comfortable being humorous and that it’s appropriate for the occasion. If telling jokes isn’t your strong suit, then you may not want to use them or you risk falling flat on your face.
Humility in public speaking simply means standing before your audience and sharing with them your own mistakes, your human frailties, and your weaknesses. If you show that you are not afraid or ashamed of admitting such things, you will create a relaxed and intimate environment that will encourage them to interact with you.
Being humble also makes you more believable, more credible, and more respected with your audience. It makes it much easier for them to relate to you, which will help you form a real connection with them, and puts you in a position of authority.
There’s More To Learn
Practice these things and it will help you become a strong, more effective, and influential public speaker. Of course, there’s still more to learn about effective public speaking.
You can’t shine without a good speech. When you’re asked to give a presentation, it’s important to have to have a well-organized outline and enough content to keep your audience entertained and engaged.
The good news is that writing a speech isn’t exactly like writing a term paper or a report because what you “write” isn’t intended to simply be read aloud. Since it will be heard you don’t have to worry as much about good spelling or grammar. You need to focus on the flow of the content and how people will receive it.
Writing Your Speech
A good tip is to write your speech in the form of an outline based on your focal points as I discussed above. The detail is the content and the substance of the speech will be the value you want to deliver. You can also include quotations, facts, historical references, scientific statistics – whatever you need to support the topic of your speech.
How you organize your speech will be determined by what you hope to achieve. For instance, your speech might be intended to persuade, sell, entertain, or to inform. It can also be a combination of these. It’s important to define your expected outcome so that you can create content that will help you achieve your goals.
For example, you could talk about how your product is used and how it will benefit your audience. This might be followed with a call to action that will encourage them to buy it. It’s a good idea to lay out each section of your presentation in a way that will allow you to allocate your time effectively before you begin writing. This will help you determine how much content you will need to fill your time.
The main components of your speech should include an opening/welcome, a personal introduction, the statement of the “problem”, three to five main points that give your audience enough information to make an informed decision, and a summary and the call to action (CTA).
Think about your entrance. The first three minutes on stage are critical, so pay attention to the way you walk in, project confidence and calm, don’t rush, even if you’re late or on a tight schedule. Do everything slowly and thoughtfully. This will help you take control of the room as you take the stage and that confidence will carry through to the end.
Begin with something that brings the audience to you. Greet them warmly and ask for a greeting in response. A short story, brief comments about current events, or the weather can help get the talk off to a good start. Then go into your personal introduction making sure to include a little bit about your background, credentials. and why you’re the one giving the talk. Be sure to preview every aspect of the presentation relevant to the central theme.
A good speech is like a good story. To engage your audience, you must find a problem they can identify with and then show them how to solve it. For example, if you’re going to discuss the benefits of using solar power, start out by talking about the harmful effects of fossil fuels or the high cost of electricity. Be sure to keep the problem relevant your audience.
Then move directly from there to presenting the body of your speech in a well-organized way. It’s a good idea to have three to five solid points to focus on. Explain each point with enough detail to pique the interest of your audience and cement your presentation in their minds.
This is usually just a summary of everything you talked about. This is an excellent time to include a solid CTA to hook your audience. This works especially well if they enjoyed your speech, because they will be excited to hear what you have to offer. In your CTA make sure you tell them exactly what you want them to do, even if you think they’re not going to do it, because it gives a nice ending to the discussion.
Finally, thank them for their time and close with a friendly goodbye. This is a good time to invite anyone that has questions to stick, around, so that you can catch anyone who is undecided, ease their minds and address any concerns they may have.