Standing up in front of a group of people or even in front of your peers can be intimidating. Standing on a stage with the bright lights pointed at you and a room full of people ready and waiting to listen to what you have to say can be a daunting experience. Over the years I have done my fair share of public speaking and I’m going to share my top tips with you here.
My first pointer would be to really plan what you are going to say. Know your speech inside out and back to front, of course it’s fine to adlib and expand on your key points depending on the response you received from the crowd, but you should be completely at ease with the material you are sharing. If you are struggling to remember all your points then use flash cards but know the content of your speech well enough that these are only used as pointers and reminders.
I know this may seem like an obvious one but preparation is key, practice your speech! Run it by colleagues or your friends and family and ask them for feedback. Practice it in the mirror and try to look up and keep focus as much as possible so that when you deliver the speech you are poised and confident.
When public speaking it is easy to let nerves get the better of you and to rush through your notes as fast as possible. It is important to slow it down, speak confidently and concisely – make eye contact and take a deep breath. It is easy to get intimidated but there is a reason that you are giving this speech over anyone else. Try to stay calm and collected and run through your talk in a manner that will ensure everyone is able to really hear what you are saying.
My next tip is to keep going! You may well mix up your words, maybe even drop the microphone especially in the early stages of your public speaking career but acknowledge any faults and move on. Don’t let your mistakes embarrass you or derail you from the key points that you are making – at the end of the day we are all human and these things happen.
Make your speech to the point, not in an abrupt way but we have all sat through talks where you wonder if it is ever going to end. Find out how long your talk is expected to last and keep to that limit. Where possible try and make a little time at the end of your speech to answer any questions that people may have but wrap up your speech on time and try to leave the audience wanting more.
These are my top tips for public speaking, what other points would you add? If you would like to find out more about booking me to talk at an event then please click here.