Speaking, presenting or talking in front of a crowd can be a scary situation. Some people just dread the idea of public speaking while others love it.
There are reasons as to why some people can speak in front of thousands of people but others can’t do it in front of 10, but it all comes down to practice. Not everyone is a natural at presenting. It takes a little bit of practice, a little bit of preparation and you’ll see an improvement almost instantaneously.
We’ve put together a few tips to help you become a better speaker that doesn’t involve practising it over and over again.
Listen to other speakers
TED Talks are influential videos from expert speakers on a range of subjects. What’s good about TED Talks is the range of abilities the speakers have; some are absolutely brilliant, while others ride the waves. Taking a look at some of these presentations and take inspiration from presenting styles which suit you. Some are a little out there, others are relaxed – you’ll find the one that suits you soon enough.
It doesn’t always have to be slide-led/screen driven
Some of the best public speakers have no auto-cue, no slides and just have their voice to lead the audience. If you fear public speaking, that might be a step too far but having cue-cards to back up your speech can be the key to a fluent, engaging presentation, especially if you find yourself forgetting what you wanted to present about mid-speech.
Focus on the audience’s needs
If you are presenting sales figures to the board, they probably want cold hard facts. If you are presenting sales techniques to a team, go down the more creative route. Knowing your audience can be the difference between a good and a great presentation. There is no point presenting useless information to an audience, they’ll just switch off. Keep it relevant.
Tell a story
Capture the audience’s imagination. Starting off knee deep in theory, business and figures can bore and turn off an audience – giving it context can get them listening and wanting to hear more. Follow the basic story structure, setup, conflict, resolution.
Break the ice by telling a joke or making a really bad pun
Including a joke or two in your presentation and you will win over even the hardest audience going. It’s always good to start one off at the beginning to make yourself and the audience feel at ease and if the joke completely fails, you can joke about the joke not working – it’s a win-win situation and gets the ball rolling/irons out the creases early on.