TALKINí OUT LOUD...Many people are intimidated by public speaking. However, just like many things, practice makes perfect Ö and imagining the audience in their underwear also helps!
Presenting a speech to an audience for the first time is always nerve-wracking, but below are some helpful hints to help you feel prepared.
Prepare your presentation carefully!
A wise public speaker once said: ďA good speaker begins by telling the audience what they are about to hear, tells them and then ends by telling the audience what they just heard.Ē
Professional speakers recommend that you spend 30 hours of preparation and rehearsal time for every hour you will be speaking. Use the attached AUDIENCE analysis as a helpful guideline when preparing your speech.
Most experts agree that an audience forms an opinion about a speaker within the first 30 seconds of a presentation so it is important that your speech start out strong!!
Tips for a Great Start:
Get Their Attention: Use a rhetorical question, story, or an interesting statistic to grab the audienceís attention right from the beginning.
Explain Why They Should Listen: Find a way to relate the topic to your audience. Think about what will make them feel connected.
Establish Credibility: Tell the audience why you are speaking about your topic. If you have special knowledge or experience with regard to your topic donít hesitate to mention it right from the start!
Preview Main Points: Preview each of your main points so the audience knows what they are in for.
Throughout your speech:
Use personal examples and stories that your audience can relate to Ė but be sure the stories match the message you are trying to get across.
Stay relaxed! Focus on what you are saying and donít think about everyone watching you!
Use natural humour but donít overdo it! Remember that you can make gentle fun of yourself but donít ever make fun of your audience!
Try to move around and donít hide behind a huge podium. When you practice your speech, it is helpful to also practice your hand gestures. Some experts recommend moving to three different locations when speaking Ė centre stage, to the right side of the stage, to the left of the stage and back to the centre.
When practicing your speech, pay special attention to whether or not you use space fillers like ďumĒ and ďuhĒ. Try replacing these small words with silence. It may seem weird at first but youíll soon learn the power of a well-placed pause!
End your speech with a bang!
Review Points: Review the audience what you just told them by providing a brief explanation of what you said, why, and what you want them to do with the information you just presented.
Tie it up! If you began a story in the introduction, you can finish it here. If you gave a startling statistic, end with one. Memorable quotes are also always good ways to tie up your speech. However you choose, make sure it relates to what your speech was about.
Golden Rule of Public Speaking:
Every speaker has his or her own style. Take the time to speak in front of a mirror and friends who can give you constructive feedback. If you have the equipment, try recording yourself on video and donít be too hard on yourself!
You will be amazed at how much you will improve when you are able to identify both your strengths and weaknesses and become comfortable with your public-speaking self!