Being able to speak well will bring you many opportunities in life. It will get you noticed, get you more work opportunities, get you promoted, get you respected and even perhaps to get you hitched.
I’m sure all of us have felt it before, standing before a crowd, sweat falling down your forehead, the butterflies in your stomach running beserk. You feel like you’re about to faint. Trust me when I say, the first time is always the hardest. It gets easier and easier each time you do public speaking.
But what if you’re an introvert? To me, being introverted or extroverted is but a small part of the public speaking equation. Here are 25 powerful and effective public speaking tips for you to rise to the challenge and leave the entire audience moved beyond belief.
Prepare well for the topic presentation
Even if you already speak well in public, every topic that you are presenting on is different.
Research thoroughly and in depth to prepare your talking points well in advanced.
Anticipate questions that may potentially arise. Good preparation is the first step to winning the war.
Put yourself in the position of an audience member
The golden rule applies here. If you are bored with your own presentation, then how would the audience feel?
One of the most important aspect while preparing for public speaking is to put yourself in the position of an audience member.
What would that audience member like to hear? How would that audience member react to me?
Once you can emphatise with yourself, then you are able to craft an effective public speaking message for the audience.
Practise Practise Practise
Rehearse out loud with all equipment you plan on using.
Work to control filler words; Practice, pause and breathe.
Use a clock to check your timings and allow time for the unexpected.
Practise till you know the talking points at the back of your head, such that you can recite the points in your dreams.
To deliver well, good practise is key.
Speak with the intention to get your audience to action
Have a call to action for your audience.
Know what you want your audience to do immediately after hearing your speech. The most effective speeches would compel your audience to take action.
If nobody does anything different than they would have done before you spoke – the value of your speech is zero and you have not been effective.
Inject experiences or emotional stories into your speech
The best strategy is often to share personal experiences or stories.
This is something that takes a hold of your audience and gets them hooked and opens their mind to your message. Give them something they can relate to so they will be attentive.
Give the audience a chance to see your personal connection to the topic.
Start with the best you got
Go in with a bang so the audience will be engaged right from the start.
Start with your best personal story, your funniest joke, your life theory.
Don’t make them wait to see you shine. Lead them from the walkway into the promised land.
Know and research your audience
It is important to know who you are speaking to.
Delivering a message for the elderly and retired is different from delivering a message to corporate honchos.
Do your research on the audience beforehand so you can craft an effective message specifically for the target audience.
Be slow and steady in your delivery
Going fast is too easy, but can often leave you with filler time that you’ll scramble to fill.
Professional speakers are deliberately slow in delivery. They deliver at a pace that will encourage everyone in the room to hang on their every last word.
There is no need to go like a bullet train. The audience is there listening to you, so be slow and steady.
Turn nervousness into excitment
At the Olympics reporters interviewing Olympic athletes before and after competing were all asking the same question. “Were you nervous?”
And all of the athletes gave the same answer: “No, I was excited.”
These competitors were taking the body’s signs of nervousness — clammy hands, pounding heart and tense nerves — and reinterpreting them as side effects of excitement and exhilaration.
If something goes wrong, move on
Unless the roof collasped, the audience will never notice it. So don’t be affected and move on with your presentation.
Always be Smiling when delivering
Look like the content matters to you – if the audience don’t feel that it is important to you, it will be really hard for them to feel that it should be important for them.
Always be smiling and looking bright and engaged on the public speaking topic that you are presenting on.
Include strategic pauses
Include 3 – 5 second pauses at key moments – just before key statements or just after a story – this really brings the audience into the speech and keep the engaged onto your every word.
Pause for an even longer period of time (10 sec)
Pause for 3 – 5 seconds and audiences assume you’ve lost your place; 7 seconds, they think the pause is intentional; after 10 seconds even the people texting can’t help looking up.
When you start speaking again, the audience naturally assumes the pause was intentional … and that you’re a confident and accomplished speaker. Use the 10 second pause to your advantage.
Give the audience something to take home
Provide the audience with something tangible that they can act upon.
Your audience will appreciate learning a tangible way to act and apply what you have spoken about.
Ensure you prepare ahead of the event
Arrive at the venue early to do a mic check, lighting and your presentation slides.
Have a feel of the auditiorium and the size of the venue that you will be speaking at.
Ensure that you are well prepared way ahead of the event. This way you can also calm your own nerves before the big moment.
Create contingency plans
What if something wrong happens at your event?
What if your PowerPoint presentation fails?
What if your opening falls flat?
What will you do if the projector fails?
Create contingency plans and think through how will you react under different scenarios.
The more you think through different scenarios, the better you can think on your feet if something truly unexpected occurs.
Share information that no one knows
This is why it is important to research your topic and audience.
During your presentation, a surprising fact or an unusual analogy that relates to your topic. Audiences love to raise their eyebrows and say, “Really? Wow…”
Dont undermine yourself and your presentation
There are sentences that you should not be saying to your audience.
Due to insecurity, many speakers open with an excuse: “I didn’t get much time to prepare” or, “I’m not very good at this.”
Some will even add, “I just touched down from a 24hour flight so please pardon my tiredness.”
Excuses won’t make your audience cut you any slack, but they will make people think, “Then why are you wasting my time?”
Do not overload your powerpoint slides
Ensure that you do not overload your powerpoint slides.
People do not want to be squinting their eyes to read their slides.
Have clear and concise points on your slides and you can elaborate in your delivery speech.
This will ensure that they will be listening to you.
Do not read your slides to your audience
This is something that your audience can do themselves.
Again, this is related to the previous point that you should not overload your slides. It is important that you elaborate the points on your slide.
Repeat your key points
Sometimes your message can be lost in the various points of your speech.
So create a structure that allows you to repeat and reinforce key points.
First explain a point, then give examples of how that point can be applied, and at the end provide the audience with action steps they can take based on that point.
Watch for audience feedback and adapt according to it
Keep the focus on the audience.
Gauge their reactions, adjust your message, and stay flexible.
Delivering a fixed speech will guarantee that you lose the attention of or confuse even the most devoted listeners should you not be on point.
Showcase your public speaking personality
You will establish better credibility if you let your public speaking personality shine through.
Your audience will trust what you have to say if they can see you as a real person.
Despite what you may believe, people don’t want you to fail. They ultimately want to see you succeed. Give them what they want by just being the best you you can be.
Use your hand gestures effectively
Nonverbal communication carries most of the message.
Do not be afraid to showcase your hand gestures. Good nonverbal delivery will help to convey the your message clearly.
Start and End with a Bang
Do you enjoy hearing a speaker starting his session with “Today I’m going to talk to you about Z”?
Most people don’t.
Instead, use a startling statistic, an interesting anecdote, or concise quotation.
Conclude your public speaking speech with a summary and an equally strong statement that your audience is sure to remember.
So there you have it, 25 powerful and effective public speaking tips to help you in your presentation. Good communication is never perfect, and nobody expects you to be perfect.
However, putting in the requisite time to prepare will help you deliver a better speech. You may not be able to shake your nerves entirely, but you can learn to minimize them.
A great musician practices a symphony hundreds of times before playing it in front of an audience. A great speaker practices the words before they find themselves on the spot.
Hope you have found these public speaking tips beneficial and I hope it helps you in your presentation(s)!