Public speaking isn’t something to fear. With practice, presentations can connect you more deeply to your clients and your work and can even teach you new lessons about yourself. Use these tips to ace your next event, whether you’re toasting at a dinner party or pitching to an investor.
- Be honest. If you’re faking or pretending, people will know. Tell a personal story that’s relevant. Your emotion will come through and resonate with your listeners.
- Invest in your audience. This means you’ve taken the time to learn about them; you’ve taken time to think through their challenges, their struggles and their goals so you can cater your message accordingly. Look them in the eye. Show them you care.
- Practice. Write your speech and say it out loud. Notice sections that feel awkward and find the natural pauses and rhythms in your talk. When you get nervous, you’ll want to speak quickly. Take a deep breath. The more you practice, the more control you’ll have over your cadence.
- Watch others. Observe what draws you to certain speakers and repels you from others. What do they do? How do they do it? What draws you to what they are saying?
- Don’t worry about being perfect. Your humanness is what makes you interesting. Use mistakes to regain focus and concentrate on your main point. See if you can reduce your talk to one or two themes and keep these in your mind as you move forward. Relax and be yourself.
- Keep it simple. Sometimes the best messages are simply stated: they’re not overly complex or detailed, they’re not filled with graphics or images or slideshows. Work with a coach or trusted friend to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses and remember: a personal experience can often mean more than any rehearsed oration.
Have more tips to share? What has made your speaking great? Did you fail (and what did you learn)? Tweet me @redhedlefthand.