You have been selected to present at a conference. Congratulations! Now you need to prepare your message and yourself. Speaking can cause even the calmest and coolest among us to sweat. Below are a few tips to help get you off to a great start:
Know and respect your audience. Be audience focused; put the audience first. Learn as much as you can about your audience before a presentation. This will allow you to expand on areas of interest, to connect, to find common ground, to gain buy-in, and to build a relationship.
Practice. Rehearse your content aloud. In front of the mirror and in front of friends. Maybe even record it. And then do it again with the visuals or props you plan to use. You will not be effective if you’re relying too much on notes, a script, or your slides. You must be confident in your material and in your delivery. Stand up and say it aloud. Practice makes permanent.
Make eye contact. And hold it. Sustained eye contact is a strong form of nonverbal communication that can produce a feeling of trustworthiness. If you fail to make eye contact, you may look less believable and less confident. Be aware of the rest of your body, too. Are you leaning to the left? Wringing your hands? Shifting awkwardly from one foot to the other? Stand straight and use purposeful movements.
Engage the audience. One great way to do this? By telling stories. Stories are powerful and relevant and easily remembered. Someone once said this about storytelling: There are two ways to share knowledge. You can push information out or you can pull them in... with story.
Use engaging - not overwhelming - visuals. Adding a PowerPoint or prop to your presentation can create a much stronger emotional connection with your audience. Make sure your slides are clean, simple, and to the point. Use graphs and charts to display complicated information and unique visuals to add interest and grab attention. All presentation visuals should support, clarify, and add value to your message.
Be authentic. Be yourself. This allows you to relax, to engage, and to truly connect with your audience. Let your personality shine through. Being real makes a real difference.
Have a message you need to share with an audience? Need some help organizing it? Delivering it? Our team would love to help. Speak Up & Be Effective™ - Momentum is a two-day program that includes one-on-one coaching to execute your communication objective and expand your communication presence. Learn more here.
Goman, Carol Kinsey. Fascinating Facts About Eye Contact. Forbes., 21 Aug 2014. Accessed 9 May 2018.
Marini, Ariana. 9 Tips to Stop Hating Public Speaking and Start Getting Better At It. A Plus., 12 April 2018. Accessed 9 May 2018.
Rosenthal, Bill. The Only Way to Prepare to Give a Presentation. Forbes., 19 Jun 2013. Accessed 9 May 2018.
Wyeth, Sims. 10 Reasons Eye Contact is Everything in Public Speaking. Inc., 18 Jun 2014. Accessed 9 May 2018.