Everyone can learn to be a good public speaker. Yes everyone! Giving a presentation is an effective way to communicate to a large group, yet so many people suffer from stage fright. Learn to deliver your message with impact! It is not just a speech or presentation. Your presentation is the vehicle for delivering your message and to create results. A successful presentation is one that moves people to action. You will know that the presentation was a success when people are moved by what it is you are saying and act according to what you said.
The best public speakers make the time to practice. Yes, practice does make perfect. A good presentation does not just happen. It is planned, rehearsed then delivered with flair. A good presenter is one who learns the skills of presentations-not one who hopes for talent to carry them. Public speaking is a skill not a talent. You will be a great speaker if you learn from every presentation you deliver. Go in front of a mirror and study your facial expressions while you are speaking. You just might realize that the facial expression does not suit the presentation.
Tape record your speech and listen to it. You are now the audience. How does it sound? Is your voice monotone? Does it have the right vocal variety? Is there a good rate of presentation?
The third time is truly the charm. Practice at least three times to perfect your opening and closing, your nonverbal language and your intonation.
Think about the purpose of the presentation. You have been asked to speak to this particular group. Why are you delivering this presentation? What message is so important that you must take the audience’s time to deliver this message? Be clear on the purpose of your speech before you write it down. Don’t give the speech just because you “have to. ” Don’t waste their time and don’t embarrass yourself. Be sure you have something meaningful to share.
Understand your audience. What do they want? Why would they listen to you? Try to connect to the purpose of the speech. Using humor can be effective. It will:
The best public speakers know that timing is everything. Find out exactly how much time you have and practice getting the timing right so you don’t run out of time. Remember the use of pauses for effectiveness.
The best public speakers know that time passes. Although the first few seconds can be very stressful, your body will automatically relax after you realize that the audience needs what you have to offer!
Tip #1 Drink Water
Before you give a speech, deliver a sales presentation or make phone calls - drink one to two glasses of water. It lubricates your vocal chords, helps your voice and gives you needed fluids that you lose while speaking. Lukewarm water is best. Cool water is OK. Ice water is not good for your vocal chords. Avoid dairy products because they create phloem in your throat.
Tip #2 Move away from the lectern
When you address an audience move away from the lectern (often called the podium). Let them see you as more than just a talking head. You will be both more powerful and more connected to your audience. If you must see your notes then stand beside the lectern - and don't lean on it. Stand strong.
Tip # 4 Emphasize your name
While introducing yourself to one person or a group, emphasize your name, so they hear it, feel the respect you have for your name and remember it. State, “My name is (short pause) Jayne (short pause) Latz (smile). " Say it loud enough to be heard. Most importantly - say it much slower than you normally do and smile.
Tip # 5 Make your name memorable
If your name is unusual, difficult to remember or pronounce, say it extra slow and repeat it, ‘Latz’. Just like Katz but with an “L”. Or Jayne, Like Mansfield. If you can have fun with your name people will like you. If you make them laugh with you, they will remember you.
Tip # 6 Stand and wait for everyone's attention
Giving your 30-second presentation at a networking meeting? Stand; stop playing with your chair and wait till you have everyone's attention before you speak. It might take a second or two. Then when you speak it makes your information seem more valuable - and they will hear you.
Tip # 7 Use action verbs
Telling people what you do? Use action verbs and words that paint pictures of results. Avoid nouns ending in ‘tion’. Don't say, “We are Speech Consultants. " Instead try, ‘We help people get ahead in business by learning to speak better!. "
Jayne Latz has been a Speech-Language Pathologist for twenty years. She has taught at New York University and is now working with corporate clients to help them get ahead in their careers. Her goal is to help individuals get the promotion or raise they desire by learning how to commicate better. Through her company Corporate Speech Solutions she trains individuals and small groups to reduce foreign or regional accents, improve presentation skills and reduce mumbling on the job.