Honing your public speaking skills

by WF- Enzo Administrator
4 replies
Yes, Carmine Gallo declared that public speaking is no longer a soft skill. In fact it's everyone's prerequisite to success regardless of what field you're in - sales, surgery, engineering, politics, advertising, whatever.

Here are my insights on how you can stand out on your next presentation.

Master your topic

There is a fine line between knowing your topic, and actually mastering it. Knowing your topic is merely, well, knowing what it's about. If it's about computers, it may merely touch the basics such as hardware and software and keyboards and operating systems.

In contrast, mastery exhibits passion to your topic and deep empathy to your audience. Keep in mind that your audience can sense whether you're faking it or you're really digging into what you're talking about. If you show that you sincerely care and you know from the heart what you're talking about, your audience will love you and will see you as more credible and authentic.

Substantiate your main points

Don't just say "some people are vulnerable to phishing attacks." Prepare your hard facts and numbers and statistics and figures. Make it believable, as in "over 2 million people unknowingly click a phished website." Be specific, and always show substantiated claims.

Your presentation slide is your best friend

But let's not be too giddy and create a 100-slide presentation. Ever heard of PechaKucha? If you're in the know, according to its website, Pecha Kucha is simply the art of concise presentations. Devised in Tokyo in February 2003, Pecha Kucha is designed for presenters to deliver 20 slides with 20 seconds for each slide, for a total presentation time of 6 minutes and 40 seconds. This is particularly important when you are presenting a business case, and your client has other important matters to attend to.

Use professional slide templates

And yes, even if you've mastered PechaKucha, don't use fonts like Comic Sans MS or any cursive font. Your presentation design is a reflection of your personality and character and if you want a concrete example, you can watch the product launch of Microsoft .

Tell a story

Your audience are more likely to listen to you too, if you tell a story. You could narrate your experiences about your business, your customers, how you developed your product from zero to finish, and maybe even some of your personal experiences.

Pause for a while

It's common for rookie speakers to speak too fast and without even a short break, giving the impression that the speaker may be in a hurry or may be nervous and anxious. Relax. Take deep breaths. Effective speakers know how to pace themselves. Talk too slow and you'll bore your audience; too fast and they'll think you're rushing. Talk in a natural pace, as if you're conversing with a friend about your favourite topic.

Avoid fillers

I'm personally guilty with adding fillers such as "um", "uh", and "like", and I don't even realise it. Break the habit. Record yourself speaking and analyse your tendency to blurt these fillers, so you can avoid them in your next speech.

Use gestures

Don't just stand there speaking or you'll look stiff and hard as a rock. Use hand gestures naturally, perhaps walking a few steps every once in a while.

Have a Q&A portion

At the end of your speech, always have a question and answer session even if you know no one will ask. This will invoke audience opinion, making them feel like they're part of your conversation, and also answer lingering questions during the speaking part. Be ready for questions and objections the audience might throw at you.
#honing #presentation #public #skills #speaking
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  • Part of what makes for success in public speaking is simply being confident. Confidence will ensure you have a captivating and engaging way of delivering your message. And what confidence is can vary from individual to individual, I've found that everyone has their style. And everyone has to discover this style for themselves.

    The other part is providing engaging information that people actually WANT to listen to. It sounds simple, but everyone forgets about this. In our overly specialized world, very often people care just about what falls under their specialty. And the challenge for the content producer when it comes to a public speech or presentation is to make the information as relevant as possible to as wide an audience as possible.

    You don't want your presentation to be relevant just to 3% of your audience. You want to capture as much attention as possible. And the way you do that is by connecting the topic of your presentation with more general areas that are relevant to more people.

    Say you have a presentation to make at a conference, and you're a furniture seller. The conference will be attended by business owners and the like. How many of them will be interested in buying furniture right off the bat? If we follow the general stats, only around 3%. The rest will be bored if you just make a presentation on furniture, show your designs, etc.

    To make it engaging, you have to go broader. Connect furniture with what is of interest to them, to something more general. Make your presentation about "How You Can Boost Productivity At Work by 50% Or More In 3 Months"... and show them market data that provides solutions for this, with the right furniture being just one item on the list. Then you'll capture the attention of a much larger segment.

    So to hone your public speaking skills, I would recommend two things: (1) work on being confident in front of people, (2) think deeply about your content and what the audience actually cares about. Make sure that your audience will actually be interested in what you have to say. Make sure that it will be HELPFUL. Focus on EDUCATING people.

    In today's hypercompetitive market, when there is so much noise going on, you will really stand out if you focus on providing value and on market education
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    • Profile picture of the author jackherry
      Thanks for sharing
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    • Profile picture of the author HazelWong22
      Definitely agree! I think once you start directing your focus away from yourself and towards how you can support others, it really helps with overcoming the fear of public speaking.
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  • Profile picture of the author palmtreelife
    Absolutely. I mentioned in a separate thread that the skills obtained from becoming a good public speaker transcend to other areas of life as well, including sales. Communication is important every single day.

    It affects how someone communicates with clients, customers, patients, bosses, spouses, children, investors etc. The better someone is at public speaking, the better off they will be in these other areas of communication as well.

    Great post.
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