An Unconventional Approach To Being A Confident Public Speaker
Speaking in front of a large audience (or any sized audience for that matter) can be downright frightening. Speakers are vulnerable as they stand up in front of an audience, all eyes and lights on them, and they’re expected to deliver information flawlessly. This is an uncomfortable space to be in and in order to reach a place of comfort, it takes hours of practice, preparation, and a little creativity. Here are 7 tips for helping to gaining confidence as a public speaker.
Be The Expert
Choose a topic that you know inside, outside, and upside down. This should be a topic that you feel 100% confident with and know that without a doubt, you can address any question that may come your way. The audience will be able to pick up on whether or not you’re an expert on the topic and when they sense that you know what you’re talking about, you’ll have their attention. You’ll also be able to comfortably improvise if an unexpected situation arises.
Know Your Audience
Before preparing for your engagement, get to know your audience. Understand the demographic and address a concern or need they may have in your presentation. Tailor your topic to fit the needs of the audience and make it a point to connect with them. For most speakers, the objective of these presentations is to be engaging enough to have the audience want to follow-up with you directly or follow your brand after the event.
Ditch The Powerpoint
Watch any TED talk and you’ll notice that no one uses a Powerpoint. Creating slides with words distracts the audience. You don’t want your audience reading your message on a group of slides, you want them engaging with you, your brand, and your message. If you must place something on a screen behind you, choose an image that reflects your topic and leave it at that.
Tell A Story
Rather than run through a line-by-line presentation, tell a story. Choose your favorite movie and emulate how the story unfolds for the audience. Incorporate lightheartedness into the talk and give the audience an opportunity to laugh. Telling a story benefits the presenter in a few ways. First, it’s always easier to remember and tell a story when you’re under pressure. And secondly, an audience will feel a personal connection when you open up and divulge personal information about yourself in the form of a story. Take any opportunity to connect and run with it.
Take An Improv Acting Class
Comedians have a routine and jokes they use on a regular basis, however, they must also be able to go with the flow. If an audience isn’t being receptive to their delivery or jokes, a comedian must adjust on a moments notice. They have to read the audience and gauge what might make them laugh and sometimes that means failing along the way. The same may happen during your presentation. Taking an improv acting class is an unconventional way to work on increased comfort levels all while being able to adjust and think on your feet while standing in front of a large audience of people.
During preparation, record yourself. You can use video or audio and play it back to help fine-tune your presentation. Verify that your delivery is engaging and make sure there’s a solid beginning, middle, and end. Recording yourself and listening from the perspective of the audience will give you an opportunity to make improvements.
Practice, Practice, and Practice Some More
If you think you’ve practiced enough, practice again. Join a toastmasters group, look into leadership training programs, or invite friends to listen as you practice. If you will be speaking on a stage with lights and a microphone, practice in that environment before you give your talk. Be able to comfortably deliver your presentation before you stand in front of a live audience.