CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – NOVEMBER 3, 2020
Tips That’ll Help You Crush Your Next Presentation (PT. 2)
- Practice, Practice, Practice
Okay, pay attention, because if you absorb just one thing from this article it should be this: You have to practice. Not once or twice but over and over again.
“When you practice it enough you figure out the rhythm,” says Nathan, who estimates he practiced his TEDx talk about 100 times before he gave it. You’ll also feel more confident and comfortable speaking without reading off a piece of paper (or your slides) because the structure and progression will become so familiar.
Lee takes advantage of any opportunity to practice when she’s preparing to speak. “Practice of any sort can be very helpful. I practice in my room or in the shower or driving in the car,” she says.
- Get Feedback
While practicing on your own is useful, it can be even better to do it in front of a live audience—even if that’s just your work bestie or your sister. The more you get used to speaking in front of actual humans the easier it’ll get.
Plus, you can get feedback from your trusted practice audience before you go out and do the real thing. Ask them if your words and points were clear, if there was anything that confused them, how your rhythm was, and if there was anything else they noticed.
You can also give yourself feedback. Use your phone (or whatever other device you have) to record audio or video of your practice sessions. When you play it back, you can become your own audience in a way and pick up on things you didn’t realize needed some attention.
“I have had clients astounded at their mannerisms and overuse of ‘um’ when we’ve played back video. Most of us have a nervous ‘go to’ sound or movement,” Goodfellow says. “Once you’re aware of it, you can work on it.”
- Memorize Your First and Last Lines
You’ll want to have a pretty clear idea of what you’re going to say, of course. But you also don’t want to sound like a robot regurgitating a pile of words you wrote down.
By the time she was comfortable in front of an audience, Lee wasn’t reading her speeches or even memorizing an exact script. “If you memorize everything word for word, it’s not going to sound very natural,” she says. Instead, she plans the structure but keeps the words themselves a little loose with a couple of exceptions: “I generally try to memorize the opening sentence and the closing sentence.”
The goal is to ensure you start and end strong while still giving yourself the room to speak naturally in between.
- Join a Club or Go to a Workshop
If you’re committed to improving your public speaking skills, then not only should you practice each speech or presentation before you give it, but you should also try to get as many of the real thing under your belt as you can so that you become accustomed to it.
“It’s the most important to get as much stage time in front of an audience” as possible, Lee says. “That’s why Toastmasters was such a useful organization for me because it gave me the grounds to practice on in front of a live audience.”
Toastmasters is of course one of the more well-known options, with more than 16,000 clubs all over the world, but you can also check out meetups, classes, and workshops. If those options aren’t available in your area or don’t appeal to you, try gathering a group of friends and/or colleagues who want to practice their skills and give and get feedback on a regular basis as well.
END OF PART TWO