While it is definitely not easy to string an emotional chord within your audience, you can certainly win their hearts and give them something to remember through your speech. It does not only take practice but also confidence and some tricks under your sleeves to enchant your audience like a pro.
When we are asked to speak in front of a live audience, we either freeze or ramble about things we don’t even understand.
Studies claim that three out of four individuals suffer from speech anxiety. That means, 75% people from across the globe have “Glossophobia – fear to speak publicly.” But these 5 simple speaking and presentation tips will help you master your public speaking skills.
Make a powerful opening
As it is rightly said, ‘First impression is the last impression.’ Don’t waste time trying to humor your audience or apologizing or making an excuse of why you are late etc. This will drive your audience to sleep. They are not interested in how you live your life, rather they want to know how much You know.
Engage your audience by telling a story or asking a good question. First impressions last and there’s no way you will get another chance to make a first impression. Work on your opening lines.
Most successful presenters go for a dress rehearsal before their actual performance. They research on the topic, they practice and organize their notes and they take care of how they will present their slides.
If public speaking frightens you, always have a backup plan. What if someone interrupts you constantly? What if you get only a few minutes to speak? What if your audiences’ throw startling questions at you? If you are ready with a Plan B, nothing will steal your confidence.
Don’t let gestures distract your audience
Clenching fists, ruffling hair, licking your lips, scratching your head, fidgeting, pulling your shirt, biting nails, chewing lips, playing with your fingers etc. etc. will distract your audience. They will stop listening to you and pay more attention to what you are doing. Another distracting gesture is scurrying eye contact. It gives away your confidence.
Maintain eye contact with one person for at least two to three seconds before darting it on someone else. Don’t just survey the room and scan faces. See the recipients of your message.
One common trait seen in most speakers is the inability to pause. Once they start, they speed up like a runaway train and get it done within one breath. Most people hear only 20% of the speaker’s words. Make the most of it by getting your message across. Pause before and after you make a meaningfully important statement. Give your audience time to process what you are saying.
Use pauses because they make your speech impactful. Pause for 10 seconds and people who may be dreaming will wake up to pay attention to you. Then resume your speech as if the pause was intentional. This way you can hold your audience’s attention.
Make it personal
People love it when a speaker is talking about her personal experiences. They listen with interest and respond enthusiastically. They like to hear about grief, loss, humor, and tragedy as it makes a speech more humane than animated.
However, know that you are speaking not for yourselves but your audience. You are speaking to serve. Meet the needs of your audience and constantly think of their benefit.