CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – NOVEMBER 11, 2020 (PT.1)
1) Finding your style
Different formats (e.g. speaking on a panel to delivering a talk) will require different approaches, the best advice I can give you is find the style that works for you.
Sometimes reading a speech word-for-word is fine, but it’s essential to engage with the audience, and you can’t do that if your eyes are staring down at your script. I’ve tried this method, and it made me lose my flow and mix up my words. I am definitely a wing-it kind of gal (by winging it I mean know my content inside out and do it by memory as best as I can!). If I am delivering new content with specific information, I’ll make cue cards with bullet points with 5 words max. to help give me a nudge if I get stuck.
2) Practice, Practice, Practice!
Take the time to practice your talk/presentation to learn and become comfortable with your content. This will help if any unexpected things pop up during your talk. When I delivered my first solo keynote, I recorded my script and would listen at any chance I got, so I understood what I was saying.
Practicing will also help make sure you iron out any kinks and that you keep within your time limit – it’s always better to keep under your time frame then go over (and this is coming from a rambler!)
3) Body Language
Communication is much more than what you’re saying, it includes your body language too! Of course, what you’re saying is important, but your body can also emphasize this.
When it comes to your body language, and if you’re able to, I would recommend:
- Smile – it makes you feel better and engages the audience
- Face the audience and have eye contact – focusing on specific faces instead of a whole group can help
- Take deep breaths so you can also project your voice
- Stand (or sit) straight and roll your shoulders back – try not to fold your arms
- Ground your feet in the floor (if you’re standing) – I do this by keeping my feet shoulder-width apart
- 4) Slow down
This is something I’m still working on. I’ve always had a habit of speaking too fast, and even now, I forget to slow down. It’s something I am more aware of so I can consciously slow down. To have an impact on the audience in a meaningful way, you want them to actually listen to what you’re saying so s-l-o-w it down! This will also help steady your breathing.
- 5) Take pauses
Similar to slowing things down, don’t be afraid to pause. You can use this time to collect your thoughts before delivering a point or answering a question – it allows the audience the opportunity to absorb what you’re saying, emotionally connect and helps you emphasize a critical point.
END OF PART ONE