Post by Felicity Whelan, Managing Director – GLUE Content
Public speaking can be one of the most physically and mentally challenging things you will put your body through. Before you hyperventilate lets take you through our top seven tips for public speaking.
- The best thing you can do to conquer your fears is remember that everyone in the audience wants you to do well.
When asked to speak in public, most people fear the audience will critically judge them. WRONG. When have you ever sat in the audience and relished in delight while someone, who is clearly nervous, struggles through a speaking engagement.
You have most likely been selected to speak publicly because you have something of value to say and the audience is there because they want to hear it. Remember this and breathe!
- Don’t Try To Be Funny
- If you aren’t a comedian, have not been engaged by the event organizer to be a comedian…then don’t be a comedian.
A joke won’t make anyone in the audience like you more. In fact, jokes can be polarizing and may turn more people off you, than win them over. You also run into the danger zone where a poorly delivered joke may discredit your authority with the audience.
Just be yourself, engage with the crowd and be natural.
- Don’t Waffle – Stick To Time
- If you have been told you need to speak for 20min, then stick to it. Speak clearly, slowly and confidently without the um’s and ahs. If you need a second or two to gather your thoughts then pause, inhale and then keep going.
- Don’t Read
- The audience didn’t come for story time. Look up and engage with your audience, make eye contact and inject tone into your presentation to ensure your audience remains engaged.
- To avoid the temptation to read off your notes, condense your speech into dot points allowing you to naturally elaborate on each point. If you don’t feel confident enough to do this, then highlight the key message in each paragraph of your notes. This allows you to quickly glance down at your page and absorb the next point, before looking up for its delivery.
- Smile At Someone in The Front Row
- Just after you introduce yourself, stop, pause, eye ball someone in the front row and smile at them while maintaining eye contact. The person is guaranteed to smile back.
- This is a foolproof industry trick we like to call crowd sourcing. If you can engage and connect with someone, they will become your hype person for the rest of your presentation. When you are nervous or unsure at any point during your talk, rest your eyes back on this person and absorb their calming smile again. Everyone needs a friend, especially when public speaking.
- Death by Powerpoint
The above image explains it all.
- Keep it short
- Keep it minimal
- Keep it relevant
- Avoid too many words.
- Don’t Drink Water
- Unless it’s the Sahara Dessert in there and your tongue has started to look like a cracked riverbed, please don’t drink water. I’m sure you are well hydrated enough to go perhaps 45min without a drink. Bottom line is, it’s not a good look and you are asking your audience to wait and watch while you do it.
Felicity has a decade of experience working as a presenter, host, MC, producer and content strategist. She’s worked both in front of and behind the camera for Fox FM, Triple M, Channel 9’s Today Show and Network Ten. She is now the founder and Director of GLUE Content and delivers video content for major corporates, creative agencies and sport brands. At the forefront of content development Felicity’s knowledge gives her an edge when it comes to driving engagement. Whether using the power of content to engage fans in sporting stadiums or innovating new ways for corporates to induct and train staff, Felicity is looking to the future and evolution of content by using the power of video to engage the next generation.