Public speaking is a great way to establish your expertise as an industry expert – whatever that industry may be. Once a person stands up to speak, even in the worst of presentations, he/she is usually regarded as an expert. The same goes for authors. Notice the root word for authority is “author”?
Studies have found that people fear public speaking more than they fear death itself. Fear is also known as False Expectations Appearing Real. In reality, public speaking is a skill that can be learned.
To be effective, one must keep in mind that the audience does not want to see you as the speaker fail. Let’s face it – no audience enjoys listening to a speaker who is disorganized, doesn’t know how to present the information properly, and manages presentation time poorly. Once you realize your audience is actually rooting for your success, you should relax and deliver the information they expect to see and hear from you.
Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, was recently commended on a great presentation he gave. He didn’t use any tricks or use the song and dance routine.
All he did was be himself. He presented as if he were having an interesting conversation with individual members of his audience.
PresentationZen offers the following advice:
- Present information as conversations with your audience
- Show your personality
- Have fun and your audience will too
- Use simple but powerful visuals
Besides those simple tips offered, we’d like to one other important one that have helped us in our presentations.
One important aspect of gaining confidence when on stage comes from practicing. The common saying is “Practice makes perfect”. Actually, that’s not quite true. Perfect practice makes perfect. Every top performer who has reached their pinnacle of success and beyond has practiced hard. Really hard. The great golfer, Tiger Woods, plays round after round, practicing his long game and his short game. Well-known comedian and accomplished actor, Robin Williams, practiced on a small scale in front of smaller audiences before he was able to deliver those great shows seen on HBO. Professional speakers also practiced delivering their messages umpteen times before they became so natural at it. People like Jim Rohn (America’s foremost business philosopher), Mark Victor Hansen (best-selling co-author of the Chicken Soup book series), and Anthony Robbins (self-help guru) all practiced. It all appears natural because they practiced it till it became a part of them.
Sure, there are people who have innate speaking abiility. Many of the greatest orators and speakers, however, didn’t reach where they were until they had developed a reputation for themselves.
As a part of your practice sessions, make sure to record yourself presenting. Oftentimes, people unconsciously say too many “ums”, “OK’s” and the like. With a video recorder, you can catch all those and be mor aware of the little things you do on stage that could distract from your message such as fidgeting, playing with coins in your pocket, not appearing to make eye contact with your audience, etc.
Refine your presentation and message with each review. With each session, you gain more confidence in your ability to deliver your presentation. Once you’ve gained the confidence, all that’s left is to turn the butterflies in your stomach at presentation time to an ability to spontaneously and enthusiastically get your audience to tune in.
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