Three tips for public speaking
November 22, 2011
Whether pitching a business idea to a venture capitalist, hosting a company meeting or presenting before a lavish industry conference, public speaking is a vital component of any profession. Naturally, however, not everyone is a stellar speaker - let alone trained in the art of the presentation.
But it's important to realize this latter part - that public speaking is learned not inborn. That being said, any professional who finds themselves ascending the corporate ladder should recognize the importance of learning how to speak. As mentioned, it takes time and devoted effort to master, but here are few basic pointers on public speaking.
Keep things interesting
Anyone can relate to the feeling of sitting through a boring lecture, sales presentation or public speech. Attitude and demeanor play an important role in influencing the energy of a speech, but so does the content. For that matter, whether you're delivering a written speech or holding an impromptu meeting, you should aim to keep things interesting. Tell anecdotes and stories or offer strange facts that will capture the attention of audience members.
The fact is, no matter how engaging the substance of your speech, people can only listen to so much of it, so it's important to keep things interesting through use of unusual analogies and points of information.
Point the sales pitch aside
Unless, of course, you are actually making a sale, try to focus on the substance of your speech. What is it about your role or subject that will engage your audience? What do they want to hear? Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself how you would want to feel in such a situation.
"Most businesspeople assume they should capitalize on a speaking engagement to try to promote a product or service, win new clients and build a wider network. Don't," writes Jeff Haden for Inc. magazine.
"Thinking in terms of sales only adds additional pressure to what is already a stressful situation," he adds. "Put all your focus on ensuring the audience will benefit from what you say; never try to accomplish more than one thing."
It may seem obvious, but the speed at which you deliver your speech or presentation materials is critical. Not only is it important for time management, but it can also affect your elocution, clarity and the perceptiveness of the audience. One trick is to focus on your breathing and to make sure that you do not get ahead of it.