For many people, public speaking can be tension-provoking, nerve racking, and more — especially for those who do not have much public speaking experience or who are presenting to large audiences.
So, take a deep breath, prepare well, be self-confident, and read these tips from Kevin Getch, writing for BusinessCollective (as presented by Tech.Co):
Be Humble — “Even if you present on a regular basis, don’t get over-confident. Even the pros slip once in awhile. Every moment you have on stage is a gift of people’s time and attention, so you should never turn it away by preparing inadequately.”
Have All Materials Ready Beforehand — “If you’re not able to commit your speech to memory, have a clear outline printed and easily accessible. Your cell phone is not a good substitute. I learned this when I forgot my lines and fumbled with my phone, trying to scroll to the right spot, but the pressure of 500+ eyes got the best of me. What came out of my mouth was a jumble of words. Now, I have hard copies of everything I may need. Print your material in a larger font with extra spacing to make the text easier to see and read. If you’re reading, make sure to look up at the audience often. It keeps people engaged.“
Understand the Format of the Presentation — [From Evans on Marketing: Are you presenting on a stage or on the same level as the audience? Will you use a microphone? How much time do you have? Will there be a Q&A after the presentation? Are you presenting alone or with others? Are audience members experts or novices on your topic? Are PowerPoints and/or handouts expected? Etc.?]
Remember, Everybody Has Had Embarrassing Moments — “Rand Fishkin, a founder of Moz told me a story of his own. The greatest and most successful leaders in history have all experienced embarrassment and failure. In life and business, there will be times when you fail and times when you’re embarrassed. It’s going to happen. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to succeed.”
Practice Embarrassing Yourself — “While there may be consequences for poor judgment, taking chances often leads to a greater reward. As a leader, if you can’t accept your mistakes, you hold back your personal growth, your team’s growth and your company’s. It’s better to create an environment where people are encouraged to try new things and get out of their comfort zone, especially in low-pressure situations.“
7 Replies to “How to Be a Better Public Speaker”
Agree. For anyone who has played a sport envisioning the most awful experience can help you prepare and react which with public speaking is the art. My soccer coach would prepare the team before any match by taking time before the game for the players to foresee making a mistake to relieve the anxiety before it happens.
I would also add be emotionally prepared for the unexpected–particularly in the sense of questions post presentation. Often times, we are prepped and ready/practiced for the presentation in general, but lack the readiness for a question that may throw us off guard.
In specific, I like to try to prepare for such instances by thinking of questions that could be asked or even look for potential holes in my presentation that are an easy lead for questions.