When we think of the term public speaking, we often think about being nervous in front of an audience having to talk about some mundane topic that, in hindsight, shouldn’t be worth getting so jittery about. However, it’s a totally different thing having to think about talking regarding a random topic compared to actually doing it in front of a live audience. And regardless of age or status in life, there’s going to be a time where we need to get in front of an audience and do something the equivalent of public speaking – be it in a contest at school, a presentation for work, or even just telling a story to a lot of listeners in a party.
In fact, a lot of professionals do their own versions of public speaking – corporate professionals do this all the time with their presentations, higher-ups such as presidents and chairpersons do this when talking to shareholders or large groups of people, teachers are trained in public speaking for their lessons, and even stand-up comedians do a comedic form of public speaking! If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to speak publicly but don’t know where to start, here are some handy tips for you:
Remind yourself that you own the presentation and its parts.
This is important, as “owning” your presentation will remind you that you have the power to do with it as you wish. You have all the power to include information that is important for you – meaning you’re in total control over your output.
- This applies to things such as work too – say, if you’re working for a moving company NYC, it’s your responsibility to show your clients that the information in your proposal is the most vital information for them as of the moment.
- “Owning” your presentation can give you a much-needed boost in confidence. This can make you sound more reassuring and trusting of your work.
- When talking to your audience, act like you’re convinced with what you’re saying as well – look at them as though you’re asking them if they understand your point clearly. Looking at the audience as though they’re your backup even if they aren’t can give you a lot more confidence.
Clarify the methods of presentation to identify your public speaking limitations.
Once you’re aware of the topic you’ll be talking about, clarify the presentation methods you can use. For instance, public speaking competitions would only allow you to use index cards while you talk about the subject matter in a pure verbal fashion. Meanwhile, other setups such as work presentations and school presentations may give you the opportunity to make slideshows.
- Capitalize on the methodology you can use for your presentation. For instance, if you can use visual aids such as a slideshow, maximize that space and provide relevant text cues and information in each slide.
- Likewise, if you’re only supposed to be depending on your voice, remember this as well. Since you won’t have any other presentation tools, make sure that your language is concise, brief, and straight to the point.
Assess the audience and think like them.
An essential part of the public speaking process is thinking like the audience, especially in the planning process. Once you’re aware of the topic you’d be discussing, it’s just as important to plan the scope of the subject matter you’d be discussing.
- When deciding about the scope of your topic, think about the information you’d like to share with your audience and see if that information is relevant to them.
- If you’re right in the scope of your topic, the mention of your information alone should get the attention of your audiences.
Show your information and never resort to just telling them.
While the adage, “show not tell” is a bit traditional, it’s just as practical in any form of public speaking setup. When you form a script or a presentation you’d want to share with a group of people, make sure that your dialogue is showing the implications of your information and not just simply dumping information on them. Remember, public speaking is a form of storytelling – meaning each sentence must have a function and a purpose. When using visual aids while presenting, the dialogue you use to accompany each slide must never repeat the data of the slide. Rather, the accompanying dialogue must improve or expand on the slide you’re showing. For instance, the best moving companies can attract clients to trust them because their presentations don’t just tell them how much they’re spending but rather show them where these funds are going and how they’re maximizing their budget proposals.
Public Speaking Basics: Do It Anywhere, Anytime!
With the above tips in mind, it’s important to remember that public speaking might take a lot of forms but it follows the same general principles. Once you get the “flow” of what you want to talk about, your success is now just a matter of proper preparation, planning, and practice. Most importantly, remember that your presentation is “yours” alone – meaning, you’re free to tinker around with your speech, add details you wish, and be as creative as you want for as long as you’re getting your point across.