How do you improve your public speaking, are you frustrated that you have all these wonderful ideas but freeze or struggle to get your point across?
Let me start of by saying I am no expert on this subject and I used to be ABSOLUTELY petrified of stepping in front of an audience.
My heart raced, my palms got sweaty , my voice quivered and all I could think of was to get it done as quickly as possible.
I explain the way I approached this problem and now I am comfortable in giving medical talks in front of hundreds of people.
I truly believe this can help you as well as I really was terrible at it till recently.
Below I explain my top tips
- Practice makes perfect. An age-old saying but it is entirely true. Keep practicing .Practice in front of a mirror. Video yourself.
- Get other people to critique your presenting style.
- Keep presenting at every opportunity you get
- Research your topic , know it inside and out. There are some people who can wing it, these blessed individuals have an inane ability to think very quickly on their feet and it is a talent I wish I had. Unfortunately if you are like me , you need to do the WORK and research your chosen topic in and out.
- Get other people to ask you questions.
- Get an expert to ask you questions on your chosen topic this gives you an insight into what maybe asked when you step on stage
- Be Passionate
- If you are passionate about a topic ,it shows. People cannot help but be drawn to someone who is truly passionate about what they are talking about. The enthusiasm and the way you get excited about a topic is infective and will definitely be a bonus on stage
- Dress smart
- Clothing is very important in giving a presentation. Now this depends on the setting ,but in my line of work, a smart suit goes along way.
- Be aware of where you are giving a talk
- Is it a Powerpoint, is it a flip chart?
- Have you got a backup in case one of the above options doesn’t work
- Do you have at-least two modes of back up in case you are giving an IT based presentation
- Where is the projector , is the computer working.
- Factor all these variables and arrive early to check all of this to ensure a smooth presentation on the day
- You will not always have a good day, there will be awkward questions that you cannot answer but that’s fine.
- Each time you step-up you better yourself and even those who severely critique you will remember you
- You always get better each time you do it
- And lighten up it’s a presentation not a life or death situation
- Be calm
- Easier said than done, but this comes with practice.
- Know yourself and what keeps you in a calm state of mind
- This can be as simple as making sure your well fed and hydrated
- Surround yourself with positive energy prior to getting on stage
- Avoid panicky and overstressed people who focus on everything that can go wrong they are useful two weeks before the presentation but not on the day!
- Slow down or speed up
- Are you a naturally fast talker or a slow talker I am the latter so I need to consciously practice speeding up to avoid boring audiences.
- If you are a fast talker please practice to slow down, video yourself and practice taking a breath after each sentence.
- Body Language
- This was a huge learning point for me- I really needed to practice facing the auidence, using open arms ( instead of folding them) and smiling!
- Don’t sweat the small stuff
- You may remember the smallest detail of when you said something wrong in your presentation but the majority of the time other people won’t.
- Remember if you feel youve made a mistake ,dont let it get you down whilst presenting, keep going with what you have to say.
So there you go, my top tips for getting out there and presenting in front of people.
My main tip is to keep going, keep practicing in front of large groups of people.
Eventually that fear goes away and then you can get on with trying to get your message across to people.
You may have the most beautiful message to give to the world but if you can’t present it clearly and confidently than the world will never hear your voice.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope this has helped you