Public speaking can be a fantastic way to build your business or enterprise if you can get your speech spot on. If you fail to deliver you will be failing to impress and the only way you can ensure that you can get this right is by planning, practising and working on your confidence ans well as your presentation manner.
These are our dos and don’ts of public speaking to help you to focus on what is important.
Do decide what your “take-home” message is for your audience.
Do organise your talk accordingly and focus on your intended (above) message.
Do prepare a talk that will fit within the time limit you’ve been provided with.
Do rehearse your talk repeatedly. Use a video camera if needed or practise in the mirror. It is important that you can see how you will be coming across.
Don’t forget to include timescales for pauses, questions, interruptions etc.
Don’t forget that studies show an audience can only remember three or four things from a talk. Your key message needs to be one of them.
Don’t forget that any presentation is, in essence, a performance: you must work to get your message across.
Do show enthusiasm. Even if you stumble, keep your cool and your energy.
Do face your audience.
Do make eye contact.
Do ask leading questions.
Do use positive hand gestures and body language.
Do speak loud enough for all of the room/auditorium to hear.
Do use the whole stage to move around on. This shows confidence and will keep your audience engaged.
Do pause to allow what you have said to sink in with the audience.
Don’t get flustered. As soon as you feel as though your heart rate is accelerating and you are losing control just take a deep breath, pause for a drink and perhaps divert the attention away from yourself by asking the audience a question.
Don’t let your nerves take hold. Practising the presentation will help you to overcome any nerves.
Don’t look down or away. This will be perceived by the audience as a lack of confidence and if you don’t have confidence in yourself how can they have confidence in you?
Don’t talk too fast. Some members of the audience may have trouble understanding what you are saying, some may be taking notes and won’t be able to keep up and some may switch off if the information is given too quickly.
Do ensure that your slides are in the appropriate order before your talk begins.
Do make sure that all of your equipment works.
Do have a screen that everybody can see.
Do your basic checks prior to the talk starting. Can you be heard in each area? Can your screen be seen? Are there enough seats? And so on.
Do use modern technology to your advantage. Use transitions, animation, music, video and other graphics to drive your message home.
Don’t flick back and forth between your slides. If you need to reiterate a point, simply plan for this and add this point in again within your slidedeck.
Don’t rely on your slides to give your speech. You are the presenter and you need to prove that you know your stuff!
Do be a positive role model
Do talk about yourself and show your authenticity.
Do include humour to keep the mood light.
Don’t allow talking about yourself to become egotistical.
Don’t be rude or make crude jokes.
Don’t force your message/beliefs/ideas onto your audience. It is more about providing the information and influencing them, NOT forcing them.
And Do be yourself!