CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – AUGUST 31, 2020
Improve Your Public Speaking Skills (PT. 1)
1) Define Your End Goal
The first thing to do when preparing a speech is to define your end goal. What do you want the audience to do after they leave the room? What information should they walk away with?
Once you’ve defined what you want your audience to take away, build your talking points around supporting that goal. This lends itself to a more focused and actionable speech that provides real value to your audience.
For example, let’s say a big conference has invited you to speak about how small businesses can grow their sales organizations. Start by nailing down your objective. If it’s getting the audience to hire you as a sales consultant, build your speaking topic around five things preventing small sales organizations from scaling.
2) Be a Giver, Not a Taker
Renowned speaker Simon Sinek says, “We are highly social animals. Even at a distance onstage, we can tell if you’re a giver or a taker, and people are more likely to trust a giver — a speaker that gives them value, that teaches them something new, that inspires them — than a taker.”
Once you’ve defined your end goal, build a presentation that offers real value to your audience, regardless of whether they pursue your product or service.
If you immediately and doggedly pitch your consulting service throughout your presentation, you’ll probably lose your audience’s trust, and the remainder of your presentation will lose its credibility.
Offer tips and strategies that will be fresh, useful, and insightful for your audience. And make any business pitches subtle and at the end of your presentation.
3) Make Slides an Aid, Not a Crutch
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association recommends using keywords, instead of sentences or paragraphs on your slides. This helps your audience focus on your message. The ASHA also suggest bulleting body copy, using punctuation sparingly, and never using more than eight words per line or eight lines per slide.
Another rule of thumb is to make your font size double the average age of your audience. This means the font for most of your presentations will be between 60 and 80 points.
When it comes to the age-old question “Prezi or PowerPoint?”, a recent Harvard study suggests there is a right answer. Research shows that Prezi’s “focus on meaningful movement” makes it a more effective presentation medium than PowerPoint. So next time you want to impress your audience, give Prezi a try.
4) Practice (But Really, Practice)
Are you already rolling your eyes and skimming past this section? I don’t blame you. But so often, public speakers are under-prepared. Maybe your assistant created your slides and you’ve just scrolled through them a few times. Or maybe you’ve rehearsed your presentation by yourself, but haven’t run it by anyone else.
Make sure you’re practicing your presentation in front of several groups of people. Present to coworkers or to someone who represents your target audience. Ask for honest, critical feedback on the good, the bad, and the ugly of your presentation.
It’s also smart to record yourself during one of your practice runs, so that you can review areas that need work.
5) Eat Well & Burn Cortisol
Eating a protein-packed snack before a public speaking engagement boosts your energy, focus, and mood. But what if there were a way to decrease stress too?
Well, there is. Cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone,” can interfere with your memory and limit your ability to process complex information. This can make it difficult to read your audience and react in the moment.
To decrease your cortisol levels, exercise one to three hours before you speak. You’ll feel less stressed and your audience will benefit from your focus.