Whenever you stand in front of a group, large or small, your influence and effectiveness are on the line. It doesn’t matter the occasion, public speaking is an easy way for people to form an opinion of you and your leadership ability. Here are four tips that will help assure your success when you present.
1. Have confidence in yourself. Being a good public speaker does not require magic or genius. It does require a desire to communicate well. Do you feel comfortable with the way you communicate with your friends, coworkers, and family? If so, think of public speaking as an extension of the communicating you do every single day. You’re simply speaking to a slightly larger group. The ease and confidence with which you talk every day is the same manner that you need when you are speaking in front of a room full of people. So just remember: even if you’ve never given a speech, you’ve done this before!
Another way to build legitimate confidence is to prepare and practice. Your confidence will increase in direct proportion to how prepared you are when you finally speak. Excellence is never achieved easily and that is true in speaking. The number one reason most presenters bomb is a lack of preparation.
2. Relax! Don’t get overwhelmed. Be comfortable with who you are. Don’t try to present yourself as something different. The more your personality comes through, the more authentic the audience will find you. Your job isn’t to impress the audience with what they think of you, but to influence to think or do something because of your message. Your message if your’s but you will succeed when you make it about the audience.
3. Keep it simple—and short. There was a time when people would listen attentively to speeches that were literally hours long. Those times, as you know, have passed. Now that there are so many ways to get information—TV, radio, print media, the Internet—live speeches need to be short, simple, and memorable. Take a look at the Gettysburg Address. It is about 270 words long. The address also uses simple, single syllable words, and short sentences. You’ll find this simplicity makes your speech easier to digest and harder to forget.
4. Don’t just say it, feel it! An audience will know if you don’t believe in or care about what you’re saying. Plus, you have to ask yourself: if you don’t believe what you’re saying, why should your audience believe it? If you what you’re saying isn’t important to you, then how can you expect your audience to care about it?
You can tell a story or be the story. When you tell you communicate what happened. When you are the story, you re-experience what happened. Your feelings will enliven your words and your description will become more vivid and memorable.
If you’re a leader who wants to dramatically improve your public speaking, consider Speaker Academy, an in-depth one on one experience with me and my team.
Mark Sanborn is a bestselling author and acclaimed leadership keynote speaker. For more information about his services, visit www.marksanborn.com.