Thursday, June 25, 2009

Be a Great Public Speaker - Top 10 Tips

Public speaking should not scare you to death, but the truth is, it is the number one fear for many people.

Personally, after watching the movie Jaws when I was a kid, I can't think of anything worse than being chewed up by a shark! However, it is important to recognize than the anxiety caused when we have to speak in front of others can be overcome.

Hiring a Communication Coach can help you deal with this properly, so you can enjoy your public speaking, whether for business or social functions.

For now, here are a few golden tips that you should keep in mind.

1 – Expect nervousness every time, but don’t expect disaster. Expect success.

2 – Stick to what you know well, so you can ‘talk’ about it at length, with ease.

3 – Ask lots of questions of the event organizer ahead of time, to find out the size of the room, equipment, expected number of attendees, etc. Visit if possible.

4 – Talk to people in the audience before you speak. If you have a chance to meet some of them before the speaking date, or at least before your talk try to mingle a bit and find out what they expect. It is good to have a few allies in the audience, and it is great for you to know what they expect to hear.

5 – Reduce ‘separation anxiety’ by reframing the speech as an ‘informative conversation’ within a group. Talk to them, not at them.

6 – Prepare point-form notes or cards and practice a lot with family, friends, etc. No sentences. The less you read the better. Add pictures to your notes.

7 – Remind yourself during to slowdown, pause, breathe, relax and smile. Actually write those words in the top right-hand corner of your notes on different pages.

8 – Research as much as you can ahead of time, so you can be THE up to date expert on the subject of what you are talking about. Anticipate questions and have good answers.

9 – Always relate directly to your audience. It is not about you, but them. Making your speech relevant to your audience and their world is key to their enjoyment and interest.

10 – What is the overall focus? Is it to inform, to entertain, to motivate, to shock your audience? Your whole speech needs to be centred around this vision.

BONUS # 11 – To become a good public speaker and presenter, you simply must do a lot of speeches or presentations, long or short, in your personal or professional life. Tips and techniques help, but there is no real shortcut.

Author: Ric Phillips
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