From time to time, business leaders, heads of departments, founders and brand evangelists will all find themselves at some point facing an audience and speaking in public, most likely at conferences or exhibitions. Regardless of whether you are speaking to a large audience, or more smaller intimate roundtable, it is important that you represent your brand to the best of your ability and leave the right impression would relevant audiences. For some, the fear of public speaking is real and perhaps we all dread freezing on stage. This is a confidence issue and can in fact be overcome. If you are prone to nervousness, it is crucial to calm yourself before giving a speech.
For all you would be thought leaders out there, here are some proven tips for public speaking to get you up and running:
- Emulate the experts: There are many videos online created by established experts that you can learn from. It is important to pay attention to the habits, movements and the general style and incorporate that into your routine. Or you can enroll in a course to improve your skills.
- Research Your Topic: It is important to know your subject matter well. Try to draw upon personal stories and down to earth language which will help with the memory process.
- Practice and then practice some more: You cannot come across as confident, if you have not practiced your presentation. Using a mirror is a definite help as well as using close friends or family members to spot flaws. The repetition involves practicing will also help boost your confidence as you can commit certain key phrases to memory.
- Punctuate words with gestures: Gestures should complement your words in harmony. Tell them how big the project was was, and demonstrate with your arms. Take a look at politicians, they do it all the time.
- Conduct a Q&A session: Not every speaking opportunity will require a Q&A session, but if you should understand how to lead one productively. Use the Q&A to solidify the impression that you are an expert, and not simply a speaker. Maintain good eye contact and smile!
- Carry out reconnaissance: It makes sense before your presentation starts to walk the floor and examine the podium and ensure that you are comfortable. Mentally making note of where you are going to place your visual aids or notes. It’s always best to arrive early, and check practical things like the microphone and any A/V equipment. Try to determine if there any factors that may affect your performance.
Negative thinking can actually be a major hindrance. If you think you are going to fail, you probably will. According to the latest data about the fear of public speaking from the National Institute of Mental Health in the United States. According, to their study 74% of people across America suffer from speech anxiety. Public speaking is cited as the greatest fear that people have, even greater than spiders and death itself. I am not sure if I would cite fear of public speaking, being ranked higher than death itself, but here is an infographic that shows that you are not alone with your fear of public speaking.
Hayden Richards is Contributor of IntelligentHQ. He specialises in finance, trading, investment, and technology, with expertise in both buy-side, sell-side. Contributing and advising various global corporations, Hayden is a thought leader, researching on global regulatory subjects, digital, social media strategies and new trends for Businesses, Capital Markets and Financial Services.
Aside from the articles, interviews and content he writes for IntelligentHQ, Hayden is also a content curator for capital markets, analytic platforms and business industry emerging trends. An avid new media explorer Hayden is driven by a passion for business development, innovation, social business, Tech Trading, payments and eCommerce. A native Trinidadian, Hayden is also a veteran, having served with the Royal Air Force Reserves for the past 10 years.
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