The first thing you need to know is that it’s completely normal to feel uncomfortable or even scared about public speaking. Unless it’s something you do every day, it can be daunting to speak in front of others, whether they are strangers or colleagues, customers or even children.
All the same, getting to grips with public speaking can be incredibly useful in business. You never know when you might be called to present a pitch to a new client or explain your latest business idea to an interested party. Perhaps you’re in with a chance of scoring an amazing deal – if only you can stand up in front of 200 people and talk to them for 20 minutes. We’ve been there. It’s not easy, but it is doable, and like many things in life it gets easier the more you do it.
Whatever the situation, here are some hints and tips to get you through that key moment.
- Research. Give yourself plenty of time before your talk to research your subject. Even if it’s a topic you know dearly, go over it again. Sometimes your audience might have questions after your talk. The more you know your subject, the easier they are to answer.
- Get organised. What is it you need to get across and what’s the best way to get say it? Do you need any presentation materials?
- Write down the key points you want to make. The very act of physically writing something down, even if it’s just some bullet points, can help set it in your mind. We don’t generally advise writing out the full speech, though. This is because if you try to nail every single word, you might stumble if you accidentally go off-track on the day. Knowing the general points you want to make gives you more room to manoeuvre.
- Practise is useful. Something that looks great on paper might be really hard to say out loud. It’s a good test to practise with a friend or even a mirror.
- Don’t go overboard with presentation materials. If you’re doing the kind of public speaking that involves hand-outs or PowerPoint, it’s easy to get distracted by making more and more materials when you could be working on your talk. But too many slides or pieces of paper will distract or even bore your audience. It can also stifle your creativity. Everything you have written down on a screen or hand-out is something you have to mention or your audience will wonder why you put it on there. Less is more.
- Imagine it going well. You can laugh at the idea of positive thinking leading to success if you want, but it really can work. Give it a go.
- On the day, relax. Easier said than done, but if you can shake off some of your anxiety beforehand it will help you tremendously. Perhaps go for a walk or listen to loud music. Whatever works for you.
- Don’t fear silence. Sometimes when you’re talking in front of people, there’s a temptation to fill every single second with noise. But if you do this, you might go too fast for your audience to follow what you’re saying. You might trip over your words. So slow down. It’s okay to pause and catch your breath now and then. Don’t worry about forgetting your words, either. You know your bullet points and you know your subject. Find a way to get back to the topics you like talking about.
- Don’t worry too much about the audience’s reaction. They will be focused on listening, not on having the right expression on their face to show how much they love your material. Don’t panic because they’re not applauding every sentence.
- You did it! You got through your talk and next time will be even easier.
If you need help with a pitch or presentation, give us a call now at 155 Creative. To speak to us today regarding a free consultation or to find out how we can help your business, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01992 275626. We look forward to hearing from you.