How to Speak in Public
The very thought of speaking in public or in front of a group can leave some people terrified. Of course, it is quite natural to feel that way when under a lot of stress, but presentation skills training can help managers address these issues.
Even those who do not like public speaking can take steps to improve. The first rule when preparing a speech is to know the subject. Public speaking is far easier if the speaker knows the topic well, but even if this is the case, a manager should take time to brush up on material.
As well as knowing the topic, a manager should know his audience. When speaking in public, it is vital to capture and hold the attention of the group. Knowing something about the audience can make this easier. By investigating the interests of a group and what questions they may ask, it is possible to tailor speeches to audiences.
Write Speeches DownGet into a habit of writing speeches down – either the full speech or by jotting down notes on cards. Then review what has been written to ensure it flows in a logical way. If it does not, work on it until it does. Then a manager should deliver the speech out loud to himself or to a small group of friends, if this is appropriate. It is important to do it out loud because what looks okay on paper or sounds right in a speaker’s head, may not work when spoken. Fix the speech accordingly and keep repeating it out loud until comfortable with it.
It is not always easy for those with a fear of public speaking, but at this stage the speaker should try to relax. After all, both the material and audience have been researched, so all that is left is to go out and deliver a polished speech.
An aspect of public speaking many people struggle with is finding something do to with their hands. If hands are flapping or waving about it can distract an audience. One hand in a pocket can look okay, but both hands in pockets can look sloppy. If there is a podium, rest hands on it, alternatively, a speaker can hold papers in one hand by their side.
Smile and Feel BetterIf nerves are jangling, as they will be in those with a fear of public speaking, smile. This will not only help a speaker to feel better, but also makes an audience respond more positively. Obviously, there are times when it is not appropriate to smile, perhaps if telling a group of people they are getting laid off, but most of the time it helps.
Appropriate humour can make public speaking easier too. Make sure any jokes used are new, funny and don’t offend anyone. Also, if possible, keep them related to the topic. One of the key presentation skills when public speaking is to be enthusiastic and, of course, it is far easier for a speaker to share his enthusiasm with an audience if he is prepared, relaxed and smiling.
Presentation skills training can provide many simple-to-master techniques to make public speaking less daunting. Most people will feel more confident and much more able to take on public speaking having completed such a course.