Public Speaking – 11 Strategies that will boost your professional career
“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause ~ Mark Twain”
- It’s about the Audience: The first rule to a good public speaking strategy or guide is to keep in mind that it’s not about YOU or even your topic, it’s about the AUDIENCE. Connect them with experiences, stories, case studies, examples etc that they can relate to. Remember, a simple tip to making a lasting impression during public speaking is ensuring that your audience is on the same page as yours. It’s not about sounding “INTELLIGENT” it’s about being REAL.
- Be Yourself: Clothing / Apparel: If you are an individual who suits up for professional events or someone who is most probably found in their tees and jeans, then by all means, be yourself. It’s core to be in sync with your element and that starts with your appearance. If you are in your routine, be it apparel, the way you look, present yourself etc then SIMPLY BE. This will help you get comfortable in your own element and boost you for a great start.
- Stories: Some of the greatest conversations have begun with a good story. So why should public speaking be any different. That’s right. Have a story that is connected with your topic of discussion. Now if this story is based on real case scenario, even better. It helps you engage with the audiences emotions, curiosity, humor, surprise and so on. Keep them on the edge of their seats.
- Focus on Your flow: The moment a participant from the audience realizes that the seats they are sitting in is uncomfortable or there is some buzzing noise around… so on and so forth, these are signs that you are losing your audience. Focus on the flow of your speech and presentation. Have a clear cut process that you follow to ensure you do not lose your audience attention under any circumstances.
- Humor: Humor is core. They need to laugh, not at you, rather enjoy the moment. Why? Because, then it feels less like a presentation and more like a conversation. That gets the process smooth and gets them focused on you as someone who will be sharing stuff that is interesting, focused and engaging.
- Less is more: When it comes to presentations, this is very true: LESS IS MORE. As in, do away with screens, presentations, links, clicks and so on. Keep it simple. Big fonts with even larger than life images with five to seven words in a screen is more than enough. In fact, if your presentation is purely engagement and does not depend on digital screens or presentations, even better. Through your public speaking, ensure to deliver more in the form of actual content and less in the form of “depending on technology” to showcase the same.
- Timing: Be aware of the timing allotted to you. I strongly feel, that reading from the screen during a presentation is a strict NO (unless its a case study that needs to showcase specific numbers or technology presentation etc). Never simply ‘read from the screen’. Also, it ends up stretching your presentations as your focus is then on finishing the slide and not ensuring that the audience stays captivated. Never go over your time limit. The sign of a Professional SPEAKER is always his or her discipline towards the timing allotted for them to speak. Whether they have a screen with them to guide their presentations or if they are simply winging it…. start and end on time. That has the power and ability to make you stand out as a Professional.
- ROTE is a simple NO: Rote learning is a method of simply by-hearting or parrot-fashion or mindlessly memorizing stuff. That is a strict NO when it comes to public speaking. Presentation has to be about an experience that begins with your heart as you speak and or discuss about topics that you feel connected with, are in sync with, are comfortable with and most importantly, enjoy!
- Gesture and Eye contact: Hand gestures (subtle manner), eye contact are core. It does not mean looking like a sitting duck where you stare at someone for a long time. Browse through your crowd, look at participants who look more engaged, connect with them to put you at ease and focus on their body language. It help will you understand if you are dragging a topic or going too fast. Eyes say a lot,focus, keep moving through the crowd either physically or through balanced eye contact with good positive gestures that are in sync with the topic you are discussing.
- Add VALUE: Nothing can beat value. Every time you focus on delivering value it empowers you as a professional across any career that you might want to focus and grow. Remember, whatever has been done, can always be done better. Public speaking is no different. Every time you feel you have hit a bull’s eye with an awesome presentation, look through, watch the flow, retake the journey in your mind and focus on things you can do even better the next time. This empowers you to add more VALUE by way of better content, stories, visuals, examples, connect etc with your audiences. This will make you stand out in your field of work or as an expert or at least as a professional who is interesting and showcases through their topics that they care about giving something more to the participants who have been kind enough to take their time out to focus on you for those few minutes or hours. Integrating the power of gratitude in your speech or seminar or workshop or lectures or presentation is a sincere way to show that you care!
- ENJOY: Most important of all, enjoy the process, it will reflect in your presentation.
“In life you need either inspiration or desperation ~ Tony Robbins”
Do share your comments on any such lecture or sessions or events that you have experienced recently.
Have you heard or attended a session from a speaker who can captivate the audience?
Have you attended a session of someone wherein you literally lost track of time and enjoyed the learning and listening process.
If yes, do share the same with me here too, would love to hear from you.
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Have an amazing day ahead.