Public speaking is the one form of activity that easily gets my heart rate up without doing a single form of exercise. It takes me out of my comfort zone. I choose to constantly challenge myself and public speaking is still new, scary and exciting; I love it! I’m used to writing about my experiences; talking about them in a room full of people is a completely different subject.
I go through the same cycle each time; you’d think after speaking at a couple of events I’d be used to it by now. Thoughts that usually go through my mind are;
- Will I deliver an unforgettable experience?
- Will the audience respond?
- Will I remember everything I set out to talk about?
- Will they leave the room with new information they will use and share right away?
Guess what? When I eventually step onto the platform to deliver my speech all those questions melt away and I get into the zone and enjoy every moment that I get to share my story.
If you’re new to public speaking here are a few tips you can try out today. Please note that they’re in no particular order.
- Captivate your audience from the get go. You have about 10 seconds to grab their attention. Start with a bang! I always start with a short exercise routine to get people moving.
- Know your message. Don’t go onto ramble about different things that do not correlate with your topic. Don’t confuse your audience.
- Make sure your information is easy to digest. You don’t want your audience to have to start looking through Google search trying to figure out what the words you’re using mean. Keep your language simple.
- Dress the part. Yes, people do judge a book by it’s cover and if you show up looking like you just got out of bed chances of your audience taking you seriously will dwindle fast.
- Share stories. Yes, statistics are great it’s important to include them in your presentation but if you want to move people share stories even better if they’re about your experiences. I’ve taken notes from my Blogging journey, whenever I write a post that includes a story the feedback is staggering.
- Take simplified notes with you. The key is to keep the notes as short as a Zimbabwean shopping list; most of us no longer have the luxury to shop up a storm so we keep the list short and to the point. Jot down at least 5 points to help you remember what you’re going to talk about next. I learnt the hard way when I presented at WordPress WordCamp, you can read about it here.
- Show up early. Don’t be the speaker who inconvenienced the entire program by not keeping time.
- During your presentation make sure you smile, use gestures, eye contact and also get to move around the room. This keeps your audience alert. Long drawn out talks in one place get boring; put some energy into your work.
- Attend speaking events in your area and watch others perform. This way you can take notes on what you can incorporate into your own style and also learn what you shouldn’t be doing during.
- End your speech with a powerful takeaway. Think along the lines of something that will change a life or inspire someone to get up and do something positive.
Keep practicing these tips and before you know it you’ll be a professional and giving talks on how to be killer public speaker.
I’m still learning and I’m open to more tips and tricks on how I can improve my public speaking. Do you have any additional tips to share?