Tips for public speaking

Did you know that people can tell a tremendous amount about you by the way you present?  Second only to death, public speaking is one of our greatest fears. Interestingly; however, I’ve learned (after 20 years of coaching) that you can identify someone’s strengths and weaknesses by how they present. Watching someone present is like watching a snapshot of how they’ll perform on the job. Does the speaker ramble? Doe the speaker speak too softly? Does the speaker focus on the tactical or the strategic? Below I’ve provided you with some tips for effective speaking:
1. Keep you hands to your side (clasping your hands demonstrates unease).
2. Look people in the eye. Let your eyes rest on a person (when speaking to a small group) or an area of the room (when speaking in an auditorium) for several seconds before moving your gaze.
3. Make it all about THEM. The most powerful word in the English language is “you.” Incorporate that word as often as possible.
4. Open your presentation with a question such as “How many of you have ever….” This take the focus off of you and onto the listener.
5. When building your presentation, begin by listing the 1-3 things you want your audience to get from your talk. That’s the most you can hope for so don’t over communicate.
6. We’ve heard it a million times, but…”tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em; tell ’em; and then tell ’em what you’ve told them. Those are the three parts of your presentation.  Your audience is capable of retaining only a few, key points.  Be clear about what you want to get across and then keep reinforcing it throughout your presentation.
7. Finally, your cadence, tone and volume really do matter. Speak slowly (much slower than feels comfortable), pause so your audience can absorb your thoughts and finally, use powerful words to express a point. Power words such as – first-ever, most, greatest, fastest, best, high-impact, radical, highly efficient, ground-breaking, etc.  These words get people’s attention.  But, of course, you have to be able to back them up so be honest.

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