Final public speaking tips
Some of these public speaking tips are summarised in the previous points. Other public speaking tips you will acquire with experience as your confidence grows:
- Use memory prompts–.
- Project your voice–
- Develop a stage presence–
Eye contact –
Facial expressions –
Hand gestures –
Seeing a video of you speaking can be a good way of developing stage presence in the long term. A video can also help identify and reduce any communication “annoyances” e.g. excessive use of hand gestures.
Organise your stage – How you arrange the stage and seating (where appropriate) will create a formal or informal atmosphere. As you grow in confidence, organise the stage in the way that helps your communication. Can any visual aids be seen by your audience? You won’t always be able to choose the layout in every venue but it helps to have a concept when you can arrange the stage yourself.
- Break down any barriers with your audience– Finding out something about your audience can help you to tailor your presentation to their needs. What is their prior knowledge or learning about this subject? Do they all work for the same organisation? Has the advert targeted a specific need? This information can help you to build rapport with your audience with references to their “group” that they might find interesting. Barriers can also be broken down by speaking to individual members of your audience before and after the presentation. Any feedback that is returned can help you to develop your presentation in the long term.
If your presentation is aimed at your peer group as part of an assessment, then find something refreshing to add to the presentation even if it’s some light humour (but keep it to the presentation aim). Hearing numerous presentations on the same topic can be repetitive. Involving members of the audience can be a good way of keeping their interest and keeping the presentation informal.
Think of your audience as being on your side; this will ease your anxiety. Surprisingly, they want you to succeed. Giving them a welcome can help put them at ease.
- Have some contingency plans– Plan for things to go well, first and foremost. But keep a few back-up plans with solutions in case something goes wrong. A technology failure is rare, but can happen. You can only then do your best to make amends. Apologise for this and then if it means you rely on written notes, then use them! It’s amazing how “character building” situations like this can be.