Speaking in public is an unpleasant activity for many and the greater the importance of the event, the worse the fear. However, as an entrepreneur, you must constantly confront exhibitions and presentations, either to your team, partners, clients or potential investors. And you must do it in the right way to connect with your audience.
But speaking in public is not really that difficult. It’s nothing more than talking, and that’s what you do practically all the time. The mystery disappears once you have learned how to do it.
What is speaking in public?
Oratory is called the set of techniques, rules or principles that allow us to express ourselves eloquently and more clearly to a specific audience. It is not just the mere act of speaking to others, but it can also be used as a motivation, persuasion, information or simple entertainment tool.
Here we give you some keys to become a good speaker and learn to express your ideas before an audience, whether it’s ten, a hundred or a thousand people:
Tips for speaking in public
Express yourself with simplicity
The people who listen to you will pick up one or two of the main ideas you present. If you can not express in a couple of sentences the point you propose to communicate, then your speech is not well defined. And if you do not know what you want to say with foresight, much less will you be able to say it in public.
Be long or short your dissertation, it is important to order the elements of it. It is necessary to foresee the introduction, the main points that will be exposed and the conclusion.
Sometimes, a good way to start turns out to be the final phrase. Once you know where you’re going, you can choose the path that suits you best to get there. It is decisive to have a powerful and forceful ending, because in most cases it is what people remember best.
The duration of the numbers in the variety shows is usually, at most, 12 to 15 minutes. If a crew of dancers and singers who put all their soul into their work do not manage to entertain the audience any longer, what makes you think that you can? Avoid too long and rollers speeches.
If you try to be different from how you are (unnatural), you probably will not convince anyone. If you do not find an anecdote funny, do not expect the audience to laugh with it. If the information you intend to transmit does not wake you up in real interest, it will not awaken you in others either.
If you take the floor it is because you have had an experience that the listeners do not know; share it with them. Try to feel the same thing you felt: a deep emotion, or indifference; fear, or sadness; annoyance, or perplexity.
The first person of the singular (me) can be an effective weapon, but you must be cautious and place yourself correctly in the space, time and type of audience that listens to you.
Audience of the situation
In the first moments of a discourse the link between the public and the exhibitor is established. Smile, thank the person who introduced you and then wait a moment.
Do not start until you have caught the attention of everyone present. Each of these people will immediately understand that the speaker is speaking to her, and her brain will be ready to pay attention to her. That is precisely what you want.
When the public has been attentive, establish eye contact. Choose three friendly faces: one on the right, one on the left, and one in the center. Go then to one, then to another, and this way you will be able to encompass the whole audience.
Do not read, speak
Reading before an audience is not as effective as speaking directly and with the heart; Spontaneous expression may not be as polished, but it’s definitely better.
It is not advisable to write speeches, but it is advisable to take notes to remember what you want to say, and to know in which part one goes. A good idea is to make bullets with the main points or with important data that you want to make known.
When we are under stress, we often forget how to breathe properly. Anyone who is accustomed to presenting or acting in public knows the importance of breathing.
Do not inhale deeply and forcefully, or breathe faster than normal; you can hyperventilate. To relax, you just have to move the diaphragm smoothly and rhythmically and give long, deep breaths.
What techniques to speaking in public could we use to overcome our fears or improve our facet as speakers?
Thanks to my colleague Mary Elvis, in this guest post, we will know the answer to this question. Mary has prepared a complete guide full of advice for all those who want to improve their qualities as a speaker and, in turn, use this to enhance their brand.
Speaking in public for a presentation involves much more than standing in front of an audience with a microphone reading sheets and pointing with a laser pointer.
We all like to listen to a speaker with extraordinary abilities to communicate a message. We even remember for years those that have impacted us.
For a novice speaker, or an experienced speaker, learning skills from other great speakers is essential to make presentations that influence, inspire and significantly impact attendees.
The great orators are not otherworldly beings, they are not perfect, in fact they are widely imperfect.
What makes them extraordinary is their persistence in enhancing their qualities to take them to greatness.
Therefore, in this article I will present the techniques to be a better speaker and I will show you how to leave a lasting impression and that people remember.
Speaking in public without fear
Learn from the best
If you are preparing for a presentation, research what makes good speakers so good . Find the latest TED talks and pay attention to the gestures, habits and behaviors of the presenters and try to incorporate them.
Know your material well
Improvising is not a good idea. Although going with the flow and being spontaneous is recommended, trusting that your presentation will be good without a hint of preparation is something that even the best speakers would not do. Investigate Know deeply the subject, what you will say and how you are going to say it. Knowing what is being talked about is one of the best ways to calm nerves.
Practice, practice and practice again
Once your presentation is armed, review it. Then, review it again. Practice your speech in front of a mirror , and then practice in front of a family member or friend. Each time you repeat your presentation you will feel more comfortable , and the idea of carrying it out in front of an audience will be less intimidating.
Prepare a plan B
Thinking about “what can happen if …” generates anxiety. “What happens if the computer does not recognize the PowerPoint presentation?”, What happens if someone interrupts constantly? and What do I do if the projector does not work? “are some of the questions that can cause panic in any speaker .
It is for this reason that you must create contingency plans and thus be more prepared if the worst happens, although it probably does not happen.
Do not wait until the last moment …
… to check that the microphone works, that the projector projects or that the lighting illuminates. All this must be prepared in advance . In case something fails, smile and try to maintain your composure while you or others take care of the problem. The most important thing is how you react .
Watch your appearance
As much as the most important thing is what you say and how you say it, your personal appearance does not stop being an element to take into account when giving an effective presentation. The more neat and professional your appearance, the more confident you will feel in front of the audience . Make sure you look your best.
Do not excuse yourself
It is usually recommended to inexperienced speakers to transmit their insecurities to the audience, that is, at the beginning of the presentation say things like “Sorry, I’m nervous” or “I’m not good at this.” If you can avoid it, better. Get ready enough to be able to speak in public without having to make excuses.
Use visual resources as support
Having a good PowerPoint presentation and even providing material to the audience will take away a little pressure , since the public’s eyes will not always be on you and you’ll have something to base yourself on if you go blank.
Remember, however, that the slides should not have much text , since in that case nobody will listen to what you say. If the whole presentation you spend reading directly from a paper or the slides, you will show lack of confidence and knowledge in what you say. It is recommended that you only use the visual resources as extra support, not as crutches.
Talk to one person at a time
One of the aspects of giving speeches that can generate more terror is the public . Maybe the very idea of standing in front of many expectant people, waiting to hear your words, can make you feel chills. The best way to overcome this fear is to talk to one person at a time .
Choose three people from the audience and alternate your look between them , as if they were having a conversation in a cafe. And look them in the eyes.
The most important thing: do not keep looking at the floor , at the ceiling or at your notes, this will show that you are not sufficiently prepared or have confidence in what you say.
Incorporate your personal opinion
Anyone can “copy and paste a theme” and repeat it mechanically in front of an audience . What will make the difference in your presentation is what you can contribute from your experience and personal knowledge. At the time of giving your speech try to include, occasionally, some thoughts and opinions of your own. Although these must be previously planned and prepared, try to make them look spontaneous. Providing a bit of you to the presentation will make you feel more contradistinction and interesting in the eyes of the public.
Speaking at an exceedingly rapid speed is one of the most indiscreet informers of nervousness. As much as your speech is brilliant, if nobody can understand you this has the same value as if you dictated your shopping list. Try to speak slowly and clearly, even a little slower than normal.
Unfortunately, there are many speakers who extend their presentation to the unthinkable with never ending speeches, without caring about mortally bored the audience or respecting their time. Do not be one of them. Be clear about what is expected of your presentation and respect it , neither more nor less.
Human beings are usually the worst critics of ourselves. If you forget a phrase from your notes or if you skip a slide unintentionally, it is not the end of the world. It’s just a presentation.
Finally, speaking in public is knowing how to communicate messages effectively. It is not talking fast, or more than the rest if we are in a conversation, or higher. To achieve this goal it is essential that we plan the messages, the structure and the staging of our intervention. Talking a lot or, worse, talking too much, can dilute the message, diminish the relevance of what is essential to convey. It occurs in meetings, conferences, on television or radio, even in interpersonal conversations.