“The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives.”
I just got back from a work trip to Adelaide and had the pleasure of sitting next to a lady who teaches University lecturers how to be more engaging. It got me thinking about the number of events I go to where the presenters just don’t seem to connect with the audience and the negative effect this has on your experience (don’t even get me started about some of my lecturer’s all those years ago :-)) . I know that public speaking can be a terrifying occasion for many people, and just the thought of it can evoke nerves and anxiety. Most people are not used to having a room full of individuals paying attention to everything they say and do.
Lacking confidence, letting nerves get to you or being unprepared means you’re not making the most of that opportunity to position yourself and your organisation to a room full of potential connections
Giving an excellent presentation (or even a confident positioning statement) is something that can be learned. Here are our best public speaking tips to help nervous and novice speakers impress their audience.
Start with a message. Instead of launching into it, start with a message that will benefit your audience and capture their interest instantly. Instead of the usual “Good morning everyone, my name is John and I run a private accounting firm. We specialise in blah blah blah….”, try something like “Good morning everyone. What if I told you there was one simple thing you can do in your business today that will save you over a thousand dollars in tax a year”. Then proceed to explain. Their instant attention will boost your confidence.
Be yourself. The best public speeches, no matter the length, are conversational. It’s not the theatre so don’t be an actor, and don’t simply read from a pre-written script. Pretend they are your best friends to help relax you.
Think about your audience. When you’re nervous about speaking, all you generally think about is yourself - what you’re going to say, how you’re going to look, how you’ll stop yourself rushing through your words or not forget them altogether. Instead, think of your audience as a room full of listeners. Your speech is going to benefit them, and once you realise that you’ll feel more prepared.
Practice, practice, practice. The more you speak in front of an audience, the more comfortable you’ll feel doing it. Try some small events before you move onto the big ones, and practice in front of family and friends.
Find a speaking coach. A (good) public speaking coach or mentor will work through some highly beneficial techniques with you to make sure you’re well prepared and come across well to your audience.
Public speaking is a talent that can be learned, and fears surrounding it can be overcome. If you’d like some help with preparation for a networking event, or how to host successful events, please call us on 1300 785 815.
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