Public and business communication has become an essential part of everyday life in modern society. People speak at conferences, participate in meetings, communicate via voice messengers, and read congratulatory speeches. This process is very active, and the successful person should work on public speaking. In addition, mastering these skills helps a career move and develops self-confidence. So this article includes seven tips from the best TEDx speakers on how to approach public speaking.
7 Public Speaking Tips:
1. Prepare Two Backup Plans
Publicist Simon Sinek is convinced that successful leaders know how to make people feel secure. When applied to the art of public speaking, the speaker needs to feel safe. So many things can go wrong during the presentation:
- PowerPoint hangs or freezes.
- One of the audience starts interrupting.
- In the end, the speaker can forget the text.
Sinek advises choosing two of the biggest fears associated with public speaking and developing a plan of action in such situations, namely, how to behave if the projector fails or the previous speakers take all the time. But you don’t have to worry. You won’t waste time and effort on such planning because thinking about what can go wrong allows you to develop the ability to cope with the unexpected.
2. Take a 10-Second Pause in Any Unclear Situation
Seth Godin, a well-known entrepreneur and marketing expert, uses the following trick in his presentations: if he loses his rhythm or forgets what he wants to say, he pauses for ten seconds. In his opinion, waiting two or three seconds reveals the speaker’s problems. After five seconds, it seems to many that it was intended, and after ten seconds, the audience holds its breath waiting for him to start talking again.
3. Attract Attention with Unexpected Facts and Analogies
No one can remember a Gantt chart seen in a presentation, but no one can forget some unusual fact that came through in it (“Did you know that when a man blushes, his stomach blushes too?”), claims former negotiation consultant and current writer Susan Cain.
She recommends always trying to find those unknown facts or unusual analogies that might relate to the topic of the speech.
People love to be surprised, Cain believes. Also, when preparing for your speech, choose some facts in advance that will arouse the audience’s interest. But if you don’t have enough time, use research paper writing services.
4. Don’t Try to Sell Anything to the Audience
Most entrepreneurs believe they have to make the most out of their speeches:
- Attracting new clients
- Advertising their products or services
- Building a network of contacts
However, Jason Fried, the founder of Basecamp (formerly 37signals), is sure that this is not the way to proceed. In his opinion, speaking about sales is unnecessary because it creates higher expectations of him and, as a result, more pressure and stress. Instead, the entrepreneur advises focusing on communicating the benefits the audience receives by listening to the presentation (and, subsequently, using the product).
Fried advice: people don’t need to sell anything to help improve their personal and professional lives, and then they’ll buy such a helpful product themselves. In other words, if you’re a strong motivational speaker, you’ll always be listened to, even if you don’t say it directly (for example, buy your book).
5. Don’t Put off Answering Questions
If someone in the audience has a question right during the presentation, people are listening to the speaker. It’s a good fortune, which should be used rather than saying something like “let me finish, and then answer all the questions,” convinced the famous journalist and writer Malcolm Gladwell.
He believes that if the answer to a question is contained in one of the following slides, there’s nothing terrible in “scrolling” the presentation to the right point. A good presentation is a dialogue, not a monologue, so you should never try to limit the audience’s desire to communicate.
6. Stop Overwhelming and Boring the Audience
Slides of the presentation shouldn’t contain too much information. Bishop William Lawrence University Professor Michael Porter has a simple way of determining the optimal font size for slides. According to the scholar, the font size should be twice the average age of the intended audience: usually 60 to 80 points. In addition, Porter believes that if all the right words in such a case don’t fit on the slide, it’s better to shorten the message.
It’s also important that the slides should be understandable. If it is impossible to get the idea without reading it, the audience won’t likely be interested in such content. Moreover, the speaker shouldn’t read the slides since they are only an auxiliary tool during the presentation. It is the approach that scientist and psychologist Kelly McGonigal takes in her speeches.
7. Repeat Key Ideas
The audience can often not hear everything said from the stage, forcing them to think over what the speaker wanted to say on their own. Thus, it’s necessary to repeat the crucial ideas several times. Among other things, no one can remember everything he says during the presentation, and repeating the main points allows the audience to understand them clearly. TED speaker Richard St. John often uses this technique on the stage.
Following these seven valuable public speaking tips will make you 99 out of 100 % successful. However, no matter how attractive your presentation and speech are, it’s always worth valuing your listeners’ time and those who will speak later. If the event involves a show of 30 minutes, you need to keep it to 25; if you have an hour, it’s better to finish it in 50 minutes.
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