Being able to confidently speak on stage is one of the most rewarding and scary experiences you can have. Being able to hold the undivided attention of a large group of people as you share your thoughts and ideas is a massive privilege and a skill that takes work, time and effort.
Here are a few Rostrum WA public speaking tips to help you confidently deliver your next presentation and keep your audience members engaged.
Tell great stories
When giving a presentation stories are fantastic for engaging the audience and keeping them focused. Think of stories that you can tell which are both interesting to the audience but also have a lesson to be learned. Everyone has stories that they can tell, but not all stories resonate with the audience. Think about whether your story will relate to the audience? When you settle on a good one, deliver it with passion.
Don’t read your presentation
Whatever you do, when giving a public presentation, do not read you presentation word for word from a laptop, your phone or an A4 piece of paper. Speaking in front of an audience can be nerve-racking and you probably have put a lot of time and effort into your speech and don’t want to miss anything important. But there is no quicker way of sending your audience members to sleep. Give the audience members the respect they deserve and practice your presentation to make sure that you know what you are talking about. It is ok to have some palm cards with an outline of your speech in case you get lost and it all else fails give them a quick glance or check your PowerPoint slides so that you can get your speech back on track. The worst thing that you can do is sound like a robot in front of a crowd and fail to engage with the individual members of the audience.
Video yourself before your speech
We have cameras on all our phones now so getting your hands on some video footage is not hard. It might seem embarrassing but no one else has to see it. Lock yourself in your room if you have to, but set up the camera, hit record and practice your speech. This is the best way to self assess and see where you are falling down in your presentation. If you are feeling brave, practice the speech in front of your partner, or close friends and get their feedback as well. All else fails you can just show them the video.
Don’t be a slave to stats and quotes
You have got something interesting and important to say. Don’t bombard your audience with boring statistics and quotes. This will also be a sure fire way to send them of to sleep and fail to get them engaged with your content. People want to hear your perspective, not statistics from websites or quotes from other people. One or two is fine to promote a talking point, but do not base your whole presentation around stats and quotes.
To keep your audience engaged you need to have a certain element of entertainment in your speech. If you are passionate about the topic you are presenting on, then the energy should naturally flow. Research your topic well enough so that you are full bottle and confident enough to feel as if “you know it all”. This self- confidence will make you feel like the subject matter expert and will translate into a higher level of energy as you present to your audience.
You don’t have to tell jokes.
Engaging your audience with an entertaining presentation doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be telling jokes all of the time. Don’t try and be something that you are not whilst on stage. You don’t need to tell a joke to make your audience laugh. If you wouldn’t usually tell a joke in front of an audience, during your presentation isn’t necessarily a good place to start. If you do want to put a bit of humor into your presentation, it doesn’t need to be in the form of a blatant “joke”. It can be done through some topical humor or a self deprecating throw away line that will get a smirk ok your audience members faces.
It sounds cliché, but this is the most important step in public speaking. It is absolutely important to remember to be yourself. You are unique and you have a unique point of view that people are here to see. If you try and be something that you are not, you will stumble and fall and the audience will see right through it. Just relax, do your research and speak from the heart. The more you act like yourself, the more confident you will appear and the more the audience will be able to relate to you.
Hopefully these public speaking tips will help you prepare for your next presentation. If you want to learn more about how Rostrum WA can help you with your public speaking and communication skills, head over to theRostrum WA Club page to find out where and when your local Rostrum WA club meets.