Public speaking is a fact of life, whether we like or not. Whether you are doing a speech at a seminar or conference, or a pitch to clients at a workplace, somewhere along the line we have all done public speaking.
It is a known fact that the fear of public speaking ranks higher than the fear of death. This means most people would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy at a funeral! However public speaking doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience; in fact when done right, it can often be to the most effective form of communication. It is so powerful we build speaking opportunities into the PR strategies we do for clients.
Here are some useful tips for effective presentations.
Practice practice practice
If you are a nervous public speaker as most people are, the best way to overcome nerves is to practice your speech over and over. Practice in front of family and friends, the bedroom mirror – wherever.
Practicing a speech is the most important thing you can do before presenting. Familiarisation is the best deterrent to panic and anxiety. When you ‘wing it’ you’re guaranteed to stumble because of a lack of structure and constant over thinking. Remember the audience can sense your nerves and your ‘thinking.’ Practice the best deterrent to that.
Know the audience and the venue
Before your presentation find out who the audience will be and how much knowledge they will have on you topic so you can pitch it at the right level. It is essential that you tailor the presentation to the bulk of the audience and understand what makes them tick and drives them.
Familiarizing yourself with the audience and venue is a great way to decrease nervous tension. Get to the venue early, and speak to some audience members. Also check that your audio visual and PowerPoint presentation is working effectively.
Get to the point
Try and make the point at the beginning of the speech, and let that be the underlying theme that runs through the speech. This will give the speech shape and understanding, and it will allow the audience to connect.
The purpose of a speech is to inform the audience. Also, there is no need to tell the audience everything you know, rather, tell them what they need to know. The expression ‘less is more’ is pertinent in public speaking. There is nothing worse than sitting through a rambling long speech. It is important to be concise and brief.
Use efficient body language
Remember, 93% of communication is nonverbal. The audience will not just be looking at your face; they will be looking at your body as well. Be confident in what you say; stand up straight, look at the audience, and smile from time to time. Put your hands by your side, not in your pockets and not behind your back.
Don’t forget to dress properly and be comfortable as well. Getting your point across means showing the audience you are confident. Remember, presentation is not what is said but how it’s said.
Don’t read the whole time
Nothing is worse than listening to a speech where the presenter is reading the entire time. If you want grasp the attention of your audience you must keep the presentation interesting. Add some humour, talk to the audience, and use some visual aids. The purpose of the speech is to be relatable; the audience has to identify with you in some way. If you are reading the whole time, you are not identifying with the audience and your presentation will become meaningless.
Clients can share your story
Often co-presenting with a client, or using case studies or anecdotes will help reinforce your story and build credibility. Your clients have a unique perspective that is often more convincing and ‘real’ compared to your story. Often the audience want hear how your service or product was used in real life rather than just a simply description.
Sydney Public Relations Agency, CP Communications provides specialist media, traditional and online PR strategies that get amazing results. Contact us today. For more great tips visit our website www.cpcommunications.com.au.