I love public speaking. I am blessed with the courage and I think a bit of talent to successfully communicate and motivate people through the art of public speaking.
But it’s not all blessing and it’s not all art.
There are some rules that I’ve picked up along the way.
Yesterday, David Meerman Scott, who I believe is one of the leading “thinkers” of marketing today, posted the Top Ten Tips for Incredibly Successful Public Speaking.
This is a MUST READ for anybody who has to make a live presentation.
I have a few more tips to add:
#11 – Make Eye Contact - Making eye contact with people throughout the audience shows them that you are not just speaking to a group. You are speaking to them. You want to help them with their problems. Now instead of “just another presentation” it’s more like coaching and consulting. Plus eye contact can help those who may be nodding off to realize that they’re being noticed. Let’s hope it has more to do with their night before and not that you’re boring. Plus it’s contagious. People nodding off could give someone else who’s just coming in the impression that you are boring.
#12 – Get plenty of sleep before you start. Sometimes I get extremely nervous before my first presentation to a group. This has caused me to have sleepless nights. If that’s a possibility, then plan for it. Perhaps take something to help you sleep. There’s nothing worse than making a presentation on little to no sleep. The audience can tell that something’s wrong, even if they don’t pick up what it is.
#13 – I believe it was Jack Canfield who said to speak from love. If you truly love your audience, who they are, what they are trying to do, and you care about them, their problems, and their future, they will pick up on this. The audience is extremely perceptive to non-verbal communication. If you’re just trying to make a sale, then they’ll pick up on that too.
#14 - Comedy Relief - Have you ever wondered why some of the greatest movies, even movies about war, strife, love, and death, all seem to have some type of comedy relief? Well that’s just it. We need relief. Life can be depressing. The facts about the blah blah blah about whatever you’re talking about can be incredibly informative and yet ultimately mind numbing. Break up your presentation with a little comedy relief every 5 or 10 minutes. Just a word or phrase here and there can really do a lot to help keep the audience interested and participating. Especially if something goes wrong. Just laugh it off. Don’t let it stress you out.
#15 – Audience Participation – Sometimes it’s important to get the audience to interact with you. Ask questions. Let the audience participate in the presentation. Use audience members as examples or as case studies for what you are trying to present. Audience participation helps your public speaking much more interesting and much less like a lecture at some university. Ask those who have testimonies about your product, service, or whatever you are speaking about, to be a part of the presentation.
- Tony Darrick Baker