Public speaking shouldn’t be scary
Studies show that “The confidence to perform and the know about your topic? What do they
public speaking humility to prepare.” think about you? What is the history
is the executive’s of your audience as a group? And,
We are most successful as speakers—
number one what is the program surrounding your
and less likely to suffer stage fright—
when we know our material and
even death. This
feel comfortable about how we will Taking a close look at what’s
was first pointed
deliver it. A good rule is to role play appropriate for your audience given
out in a survey of 3,000 Americans
your presentation a minimum of five this important context information
by the Sunday Times of London in
times before the big moment. will ensure that your speech is as
1973. Getting behind a podium may
relevant, targeted and engaging as
make you wish you could jump off Research the audience. One of
possible. Still, while reviewing the
the nearest cliff, but with a few tools the most important parts of your
rough draft of your presentation, be
and techniques, the anxiety of public preparation is understanding the
honest with yourself. If you feel like
speaking can now be put to rest. people you’ll be speaking to, and
something doesn’t connect or isn’t
what they need and want from
As I’ve studied the art of speaking consistent, it’s often better to leave
you. A canned presentation pulled
over the years to help my clients it unsaid. Make sure your speech
off the shelf doesn’t cut it with
become better presenters, I’ve learned accomplishes what you want—are
today’s demanding audiences. To
that excellent public speakers don’t you simply informing your audience,
best understand how to target your
do one thing 100 percent, but rather or trying to persuade them to action?
presentation, learn the demographics
just the opposite. The best presenters
of your audience, including the size Content is king. For experts and
employ a multitude of techniques
of the group, age range, percentages novices alike, it’s important to
to deliver a total package that is
of males and females, education level, remember some basics about delivery
relevant, insightful and bottom line
economic status, cultural background that will help your audience connect
makes an impression on the audience.
and occupation. with the key points of the message.
Preparation is key. Many people Remember the light rule. Tell the
It is also important to understand
underestimate how much time audience that you are turning on the
how your information can help them.
they need to prepare an effective light; tell them when the light is on
From the moment you begin to
presentation. They put it together and remind them why the light is on.
prepare for your presentation, keep
at the last minute and then don’t
in mind that your audience comes Audiences typically determine if
have time to practice their delivery.
first. Develop an understanding of they are interested in the first three
Respected actor Laurence Olivier put
your audience and their attitudes seconds of a presentation. Therefore,
it best when he was knighted by the
toward your topic. Anticipate their spend your “first impression” time
Queen of England. On the occasion,
expectations and consider the hooking the audience rather than
a reporter asked him, “To what do
circumstances surrounding your thanking them for the opportunity
you attribute your great success?”
presentation: What do they already
“Two things,” Olivier responded. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
to present. We have so much When you’re behind the lectern,
information to share and it is often you have to work even harder to Karen’s Top 10 Tips
times difficult to decide what to communicate effective body language. for Public Speaking:
include or leave out—but less is Keep in mind that the lectern is not a
usually better. Your audience can life raft to hang on to. The best rule is 1) Dress appropriately for the
only absorb a limited amount of to try not to use a lectern, but if you occasion; first impressions
content. The more information, the can’t give it up, at least occasionally count.
less they will retain. When you limit come out from behind it. If you move 2) Never read from a script;
your entire presentation to three or in front of the audience, walk with use cue cards with key words
four main points, people are more purpose rather than roaming aimlessly and phrases or sketches
likely to remember them—and you. back and forth. instead.
Spice it up! In this age of the A good presenter has the unique 3) Rehearse your presentation
Internet, the blogosphere, YouTube power to create change and inspire to yourself, and then in front of
and short attention spans, people new thoughts. This ability is exactly some colleagues, and consider
expect to be entertained while they’re what makes the work we do every how visual aids will tie in to
being educated. Stories and anecdotes day—and the presentations we give
help bring the information home and listen to—worthwhile. When 4) Deliberately pause at key
to the audience, as do examples, all is said and done, just remember points. This emphasizes
demonstrations and props. Use what Jerry Seinfeld said when it importance.
caution with props to ensure that comes to the number one fear of
5) Unless you are an expert or
they are appropriate and tie in with public speaking and number two fear a comedian, avoid jokes.
the presentation, and be careful not of death: “Now that means to the
to overuse them as this may become ‘average’ person that if you have to 6) Keep an eye on the
distracting to the audience. go to a funeral, you’re better off in audience’s body language.
the casket than doing the eulogy.” Know when to stop and
The power of nonverbal when to cut out a piece of the
This is one instance when it is best to
communication. What you say is presentation.
be better than average.
important, but no one will hear or
7) Keep visuals simple.
care about your words unless your
moore consulting group
nonverbal communication is equally 8) Change your delivery
effective. The stronger your body throughout the presentation,
language, the more likely you’ll keep Karen Moore, APR, CPRC i.e. speed and pitch of voice.
the audience’s attention. Use natural CEO and Founder at Moore Consulting Group
9) Know the purpose of
gestures that help you feel and look the presentation: to inform,
more comfortable. Make regular persuade or evoke an emotion.
eye contact with each person in the
10) Remember that good
audience, or at least each region of
speakers are not born, they are
the room, and convey confidence by
standing planted on both feet rather
than shifting or rocking back and forth.