It is considered one of the most stressful things in most people’s book – when they are asked to ‘make a speech or presentation’. Whether it’s a best mans speech at a wedding, a business situation where you are required to present to an audience or simply an informal presentation to a group of friend or associates, preparation is the key. See below our tips to ensure you make the most of your public speaking event!
1. It is okay to be nervous however experienced you are, so use your nerves to your advantage. Use the adrenaline that the nerves produce to ensure an upbeat and engaging presentation
2. Presenting and speaking in public is a physical activity so make sure your body is ready. At the very least learn some breathing techniques for pace, tone and texture in your voice.
3. Do Your research regarding the audience by asking the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘when’ and ‘where’ questions. Who are they, what are they expecting, how many of them will there be; what is the venue like, what is the topic and how is the programme structured (is it only you, who are the other speakers, where are you in the order / structure, how much time do you have and does it include a Q&A)
4. Avoid technology unless you really need it. If anything is going to go wrong it will be the technology. If you do use Powerpoint, make sure it is highly visual and keep it to a minimum.
5. Use positive and engaging body language – presenting and speaking is all about building rapport so make eye contact all around the room and above all – smile!
6. Involve the audience. The best way to ensure that an audience remembers you and what you have to say is to involve them in some way so ask questions. The more you are interested in them, the more they will be interested in you.
7. Practice, practice and practice again. Good preparation is the key to any successful presentation.
8. Leave the audience with a call to action. This doesn’t necessarily mean a doing the hard sell. It means asking the audience to do something as a result of listening to you.
9. Pay special attention to your personal appearance and consider your messaging. Make sure your personal grooming is immaculate. Remember, 93% of the first impression you make on your audience is determined by your physical presentation. It is essential that you look the part to ensure maximum credibility and impact.
Good luck! Oh yes and have fun too!