Tips for Giving a Public Speech
A crucial part in business is communicating your ideas to others. This makes giving a public speech an important part of your business. Feeling nervous just thinking about giving a public speech? That’s normal. Anxiety over public speaking is very common. Some anxiety is actually useful as it gives you a boost of adrenaline. The best thing to do when you experience anxiety over public speaking is to be prepared.
Here are 9 tips to help you excel at public speaking.
1. Understand your audience. This is an important first step as it helps dictate the type of information and style of your speech. Let’s say your company produces healthy, already made meals. You wouldn’t deliver the same type of speech to working mothers as you would for children. The type of language and information used to appeal to children would vary compared to their parents.
2. Prepare and do your due diligence. Your audience can tell if you lack knowledge on the topic you are presenting. This is why doing your research and preparing for your speech is important. There may also be some questions at the end so prepare for possible questions and answers for your presentation as well.
3. Condense the information to the central theme and main points. Now that you are an expert on your topic, be sure to understand the main takeaways you’d like your audience to have from your presentation. Having this outline will also be helpful in preparing notes for your speech which leads us into our next point.
4. Don’t read from a script. Instead use notecards that highlight the main points of your speech. Reading from a script can make you sound too robotic. The details of the speech should be memorized and the key points written out as reminders for the structure and order it should follow. Another reason we don’t recommend reading from a script leads us into our next point…
5. Make eye contact. If making eye contact causes you too much anxiety look right above your audience’s eyes at their forehead/heads. It will look like you are giving eye contact. Once you get more comfortable giving speeches and feel more comfortable you can start making eye contact.
6. Use an interesting hook/introduction to engage your audience. The purpose is to grab their attention and get them excited for the rest of your presentation.
7. Use effective nonverbal communication. It may be harder to engage your audience when standing in one spot. Walk around the room to get everyone in the room engaged.
8. Use humor and tell stories to keep the audience interested. Using humor will help to lighten the mood and get audience feedback. Sharing stories will help to provoke an emotional response from your audience.
9. Use visual aids. This will help drive your point home. It will also help you remember your talking points! Just be sure the visual aids aren’t overkill and have a natural flow to match your speech. Examples of visual aids include powerpoints, pictures, graphs, and props.
Refining your public speaking skills will give you a leg up in business. If you’d like more resources and practice public speaking, check out Toastmasters. It’s an international non-profit that teaches public speaking and leadership skills.