Wednesday, December 30, 2015

4 Tips to be a Better Public Speaker

Public speaking is the number one fear for most people. But it doesn’t have to be a scary experience. Try these tips and let people see just how amazing you can be in the front of the room.

1. Really know your subject matter. Giving an outstanding presentation centers around knowing everything you can about the topic you are discussing. Ideally, if you’ve been asked to give a 20-minute presentation, you should know your topic well enough that you could speak for 2-3 hours without ever repeating anything. Being a good public speaker is not about flash cards and remembering exact language, although sometimes that will get you through. Being truly amazing at it is all about bringing the pertinent information needed by that particular group. So you need to know enough to leave most of what you know unsaid and focus your time on what that group is interested in learning.

2. Spend time talking with participants before your presentation. Talk with the people arriving a little bit early. Introduce yourself, find out a few items about them and then ask a question or two about your topic that will help you know what that person really wants to understand. Pull in another person just arriving. Introduce everyone and ask more questions. Use all the time you have before you are scheduled to start meeting and talking with participants. By the time you sit down and listen to the kind introduction, you’ll have a good idea of the points that must be covered, and what you can probably leave unsaid.

3. Make yourself open to the group. Come out from behind anything like a podium, table or desk. Make a point of getting comfortable. Loosen your tie or take off your high heels. Invite attendees to get comfortable too. Create a relaxed environment where people feel safe to learn and share. Walk around some. When you keep moving, people have to refocus on you often, keeping them alert and cued up for new information.

4. Ask questions to get people’s thoughts and responses. This is one of the reasons it is important to create the safe and comfortable situation - so people can speak freely. Sometimes a public speaking engagement won’t allow for a lot of open forum discussion time, but try to fit it in as much as possible. People learn faster when they are actively participating in a conversation. And when there is more than one view being shared, everyone can discover something new, even you. One hint about asking questions – ask questions that don’t feel like you want just one right answer. Ask questions are about what they think, feel, believe, hope, or want. And DON’T ask questions with “yes” or “no” answers. You want discussion.

Treat public speaking opportunities like they are an intelligent discussion with several of your good friends, and you’ll be more relaxed. But more than that, real experts know enough about their areas of expertise to get people enthusiastic enough they need to start talking.

David Milberg is a financial adviser from NYC.

No comments:

Post a Comment