#10tips10days: Public Speaking Tips From Prep To Delivery

I posted a series of tips on public speaking for 10 days as a part of the hashtag #10tips10days. I made a blog post of the tips in case we aren’t connected on Linkedin and would want to go through the tips.

Tip #1 of 10: How to get started on public speaking?

Assess your current levels

1. Forget the fear of facing the public, begin by evaluating your current levels. On a scale of 1 to 10, how comfortable are you speaking in public?

2. Think of the areas you want to improve upon. Is it facing the fear of speaking? Or learning what to do with your hands? Be specific so that you can start conquering them one by one

3. Find a coach. One of the best ways to improve on one’s skill is to work with a partner who’s already good at it, someone who will not only help you improve but also knows how to do that.

You can read the original post on Linkedin here

Tip #2 of 10: Analyse your audience

Audience analysis is a key aspect of any speaking situation. The more audience oriented you are, the easier it’ll be for the audience to stay with you till the end. Some of the questions to consider before preparing for your public speaking event is:

  • WHO is going to be in the audience?
  • WHY are the listeners present?
  • WHAT do they already know about the topic?
  • HOW can you add to that knowledge?
  • WHAT does the audience expect from you?
  • WHAT cultural context should you keep in mind?

Understand the demographics of your audience – are they mostly young or old, majority women or mixed group? Ask yourself what is the goal they wish to meet in listening to your speech. Your audience is smarter than you think so treat them with respect. Think of ways in which you can add to their existing knowledge and make the time they spend listening to you worthwhile.

Learn more about how to analyse your audience

You can see the original post on Linkedin here

Tip #3 of 10: Capture attention of audience right at the beginning

Compare a boring presentation where the speaker drones on and the one where the speaker starts with a magic trick! I’m kidding but you get the point, right? Listening is hard! And an adept public speaker will keep the audience interest piqued through out. And go for it right at the start!

Stories: We are tuned to perk up at the words, “Once upon a time…” Anecdotes work the best since they tend to be short and to the point.

Stats: If you are into a very formal speaking situation, you can start with relevant stats that might interest the audience.

Shocking moments: If you are upto it, you can also try something that your audience doesn’t expect at all. Bill Gates released mosquitoes from a tiny jar at the beginning of his TED talk. Given the situation and the audience, your imagination is the only limit!

Learn more about different speaking tools and how to use them

Tip #4 of 10: How to overcome the fear of public speaking

It is said that public speaking is a fear only next to death! And no, picturing people in their underwear doesn’t work either! So what do we do?

#1 Master mini skills: Like cutting and chopping in a professional kitchen, confident public speaking requires you to master some mini skills. Voice modulation, gestures, rate of speech, eye contact, writing a good speech,  – each one contributes to the overall success of a speech.

#2 Visualize success: Sit comfortably and visualize yourself successfully performing a speech from introduction to conclusion. This helps your subconscious be better prepared for actual public speaking.

#3 Power pose: Amy Cuddy conclusively proved that putting your body in power pose for 2 minutes before a stressful situation – which public speaking is – you can raise the level of testosterone and lower cortisol in your body. See comments to know more about power poses

Here are 3 ways to overcome fear of public speaking

Tip #5 of 10: How to project confident body language on stage

We see people before we speak to them or hear them speak. And that makes body language a key variable that’ll decide how people perceive us when we take to the stage as a speaker. Here are a few things you can do to ensure your body language projects confidence on stage:

#1 Smile. From projecting friendliness to hiding nervousness, a smile can take you a long way. People like a friendly speaker with a smile.

#2 Mind your hands. This is the most common problem – what to do with the hands? Some put it in their pocket, others leave them hanging on either side. Practice normal hand movements so that you are comfortable with them even on stage.

#3 Use gestures confidently. Watch great speakers and learn. Practice them, in front a mirror if need be. Record yourself or present before friends who can give you feedback.

Amy Cuddy, in her brilliant TED talk explains how to use power pose to feel confident

For more body language tips, read this

Tip # 6 of 10: Use the power of three

What is common between The Godfather, Matrix and Star Wars? They are all trilogies. What’s common in these kids stories – 3 blind mice, 3 little pigs and The Golden Goose, with three brothers? You got it!

Reason: The human short term memory can retain 3 things easily in one go. 2 don’t say enough and 4 is too many to remember, so 3 it should be. It makes your point or sentence emphatic, effective and memorable. 

How can you use this principle in your presentation and speeches?

Use triads of words and phrases. Insert the three rule into your talk or sales pitch to appeal to our inherent love for the number and make also make an impact on the group.

Ensure you structure your talk around this concept. Plan your presentation to have 3 clear elements. Divide it into introduction, middle and end. plan your speech around problem, solution, challenges ahead

Learn more about the use of three in effective communication

Tip #7 of 10: Take every opportunity to speak

No matter how many driving lessons you take on the simulator, the true test of your driving skills is going to be on a real road! Similarly, One of the best ways to test whether you can actually speak in public confidently is to just do it!

Practice makes a man (and a woman) perfect! So while you can practice mini skills I told you about earlier in this series, putting them together for a real talk is the only true way to figure out how good you’ve gotten. Here’s how to do it:

#1 Banish the fear of failure. Facing people comes with the territory of public speaking. So don’t worry if you fumble or make a complete fool of yourself. Even this is a stepping stone to future confidence.

#2 Start with low stake speaking situations. Addressing a group of friends, speaking at your local Toastmaster club or talking to the residents in your apartment committee.

#3 Keep at it. Practice, remember?

See the original post on Linkedin here

Tip #8 of 10: Change tack every few minutes

Simple things like

  • Ask a question
  • Share a staggering statistic
  • Tell a story
  • Take a ppt break
  • Ask for audience experiences

Can keep them mentally present during your presentation.

Tip #9 of 10: Learn voice modulation

If you ever watch the World Championship of Public Speaking, you can’t help but note – and be inspired – by the speakers’ ability to modulate their voice.

The leaders of the world who have impacted nations have done so because of the way they stress on the right words and convey their feelings.

#1 Watch and learn: One of the best things I love to do is watch TED videos to learn how voice modulation can be used in different situations. Watch a video a day and pay attention to how the speaker uses his/her voice

#2 Practice on your own. You need to get comfortable with the sound of your voice.

#3 Learn vocal exercises that’ll help relax your vocal chords and use your voice optimally.

Tip #10 of 10 How to continue working on your public speaking skills

In 2017, I read a bunch of books on public speaking by well known authors like Carmine Gallo and Chris Anderson. I realized that there is always scope to sharpen the axe of our skills.

#1 Read books by authors who can really add value to your skills

#2 Watch videos like TED that are professionally conducted and gives us a lot to learn from

#3 Join a local Toastmasters club. These clubs comprise of like minded people who wish to work on their speaking skills. So they are nothing but encouraging about the members’ efforts to get better.

If you have any questions about developing your own public speaking skills, feel free to get on touch with me in the comments or write to me on sumankher@sumankher.com.

If you want to know how I can help you develop your speaking skills, you can read this post.

I’ll be running more series on tips on Linkedin – one on placement interviews in February and personal branding and networking tips for women in March – among other content that I post on Linkedin. Why don’t you connect with me on Linkedin so that you don’t miss a thing!

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