Many polls (both scientific and popular) show that public speaking is near the top of the list of people’s fears. In some, the fear of public speaking is greater than death. Even if public speaking is not a primary function of most people’s jobs, people may have to at some point. Whether it is presenting research findings or pitching to a potential client – there are many situations where being an effective public speaker is crucial. Here are some public speaking quick tips to help:
Under NO circumstances picture the audience in its underwear. Even if you get nervous, do not do this. Do you know of anyone who has ever done it? Frankly, there are definitely people you do not wish to see in their underwear.
Be prepared – rehearse. This does not mean you have to memorize your speech word for word. You don’t want to over rehearse and sound robotic, but you should know it well enough to avoid any awkward pauses. If possible, ask a friend or someone you trust to listen to your speech and give feedback.
Speak clearly – Do not mumble or speak too quickly or slowly. You may have a great message, but people won’t get it if they don’t understand you. If you are speaking in a bigger room, you may have to project. If this is something you will need to do on a regular basis, acting lessons may help.
Have good eye contact. Don’t constantly look down at note cards or read from them. You will not be able to connect to your audience and your message will get lost. This is why being prepared is handy. Know your speech well enough and only use note cards as a place holder.
Engage the audience – This encompasses eye contact and knowing your speech well enough not to read from note cards. Note: If you use PowerPoint, do not put your entire speech on it. Otherwise, people don’t need to see your speech in person. It is not engaging.
Have good posture – Nothing distracts an audience more than a fidgety presenter. If you are given a podium, don’t lean against it or hide behind it. Stand up straight and tall without locking your knees (this will cause fainting).
Keep speech within time frames – If you are allotted a certain amount of time, do not go over. Be respectful of other’s time. Also, do not make your speech so short the audience gains nothing of value. Timing your speech before hand and making adjustments will help.