The best way to prepare for your next public speaking engagement
Become the best public speaker you can be
Many people find it difficult to speak in front of a crowd. I know how it feels better than most. Sweaty palms and butterflies in your stomach is the least of your worries. What get’s to me the most is the fear that I’m going to forget the content of my presentation.
The worst piece of advice that I’ve ever received is to picture your audience naked. Trying to picture a room full of people with no clothes on only distracts you from what you’re supposed to be doing. That is, to deliver your presentation to the best of your ability and keep the attention of your audience.
I’ve spoken at many events and addressed thousands of people. The one thing that worked best for me was proper preparation. The best way to start preparing your preparation is to...
Know your audience
The first thing you need to do is make sure that you have an idea of the audience you’ll be addressing. This will help you understand what type of tone to set for your presentation. If you’re speaking to a group of external business people, you need to take a more formal approach to your presentation.
Yes, by all means allow for a few jokes, but don’t let that be the focus of your presentation. Keep it professional and to the point. However, if you’re addressing your colleagues, you can be a little more informal since you already have a relationship with them.
A word of warning though, take it from me, there’s nothing worse than making a joke that nobody laughs at. If this happens at the beginning of your presentation, you’ll struggle to recover from the knock.
The only way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to make sure you’re 100% prepared.
Know your topic
Preparation is everything when it comes to presenting professionally. It is vitally important that you understand everything you’re going to be talking about. Research your topic, write down your speech and practice it well before hand. If you know your subject, you’ll be able to deliver it more confidently.
Practicing it will also allow you to spot opportunities to include icebreakers or pause moments of impact when you make an astounding statement. That brings me to the next point.
Write down key take away points
Make sure that you write down key sentences that you must use during your speech. These sentences should be short, punchy and emphasise important points in your speech. It also helps you to follow a specific theme and stick to it without deviating from what you’re trying to say.
Remember, you want to deliver your message, writing down key points will help you to get your point across. Think of them like chapters or subheadings in an article. They allow the audience to follow what you’re saying more closely.
Get your message across in time
Make sure that you stick to your allocated time. Whether you have 20 minutes or an hour, time yourself that you don’t go over time. Your audience doesn’t want to get bored or run late for the next appointment. While preparing your notes, split your speech up into short segments. This way you’ll get your message across effectively and in time.
Keep your PowerPoint presentation clear of clutter
If you’re using a power point presentation to compliment your talk, keep it clear of clutter. Try not to busy up the slides with too many words and pictures. You want to keep their attention on you. The slides should only be used to highlight important information. Show graphs and statistics only.
If you need help preparing your next big presentation, let me know. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, tell me about your problems and I’ll help you find a solution.