The Art of Public Speaking and How To...
Talking about public speaking, one of the key components to consider when analyzing what makes an excellent public speaker is the effectiveness of his/her delivery. Sometimes you plan a speech in your head but fail to deliver it as planned and this is one of the greatest fears that come along with public speaking. This is normal, especially when you’re at the early stages of your public speaking career. It is essentially part of the process of becoming an excellent public speaker, it is okay to not feel great about a speech or a presentation that you’ve done. Sometimes, you might think you had a bad presentation or speech, but the audience might have a different view. This happens because most times, the way you sound to yourself is totally different from the way you sound to others. Some people speak in public and feel great and confident about themselves afterward because they know they’ve delivered effectively. This is a direct result of constant practice/preparation before every public speaking event. It doesn’t happen overnight, but I believe public speaking is a skill that can be acquired by almost anyone through the right process. Listening to other people’s public speaking journeys is a good place to start. This perfectly leads us to things that you need to do to develop your public speaking skills.
BEFORE THE PRESENTATION
In no particular order, make sure you keep the following in check before your public speaking appearance:
THE CALIBRE OF AUDIENCE: It is very important to familiarize yourself with the caliber of the audience you will be speaking to before the day of the event. This helps you build up the confidence to get the job done and it also tells you what kind of approach to use for that set of audience.
CONTROL YOUR NERVOUSNESS: It is okay to feel nervous when you’re about to go on stage and start your presentation/speech, just don’t let it affect you. You need to learn to control your nervousness and let it not affect your performance when you’re on stage. You can have a pre-presentation ritual that helps you calm down when you’re about to go on stage.
DO NOT MEMORIZE: When you memorize, there’s a tendency that you might forget some parts of the presentation midway and when this happens, you get stuck and your brain shuts down. Instead, write down bullet points and build up a structure for your presentation and whenever you forget something, you can always look at your bullet points briefly and continue from there.
WRITE YOUR SPEECHES: it is always advisable to write your speeches yourself as it gives you a better understanding of the message you’re conveying. It is okay to get ideas from other public speakers but or speeches but always be very careful not to plagiarize, it makes you lose your credibility.
TIME FACTOR: Always give yourself enough time to prepare for a presentation, it gives you room to make necessary adjustments and prepare for the worst-case scenario and/or unforeseen circumstances during your presentation.
DURING THE PRESENTATION
KEEP IT SIMPLE: It is very important to keep your presentation simple, don’t start with wanting to be sophisticated. The aim is to deliver the message effectively and sophistication can just be too much for your audience and then the whole purpose of the presentation is lost.
CONTROL YOUR NERVOUSNESS: This is very important to take note of, as nervousness can kick in not only before your presentation but also during the presentation. Knowing how to control your nervousness is key to having an excellent presentation. One of the indications of nervousness is when you talk fast. Once you realize you’re talking fast, you need to stop for a couple of seconds, take a couple of deep breaths and then continue. This is a lot better than continuing to talk rapidly and risking losing control.
UNFORSEEN CIRCUMSTANCES: This really could happen before you start your presentation because there are issues such as your presentation slides being adjusted by the organizers or the public address system could be faulty or even power issues. At this point, it isn’t time to play the blame game, it is time for you to show that you really know what you’re doing. This happens when you go on stage deliver your presentation. You must be ready to make unexpected adjustments.
ABOUT JOKES: It is always good if you can crack a couple of jokes in between your presentation. This helps you keep your presentation interesting and the attention level of your audience as presentations can get really boring sometimes. But then if you can’t really crack jokes, it is better to go straight to the point and avoid being embarrassed.
AFTER THE PRESENTATION
LEARN FROM YOUR EXPERIENCES: There isn’t much to do after your presentation other than to look back and learn from your experiences. Look at the things you did right and see how you can improve on them because there’s always room for improvement. Look at the things you did wrong and analyze why you did them wrong and how you can avoid making the same mistakes in the future. Remember not to beat yourself over a bad presentation because by doing that, you are closing the possibilities of change and improvement in the future. Every great public speaker has had bad public speaking experiences, so you can take solace in knowing that failure is part of the process of becoming great.
We’ve come to the end of this blog post and I really hope you enjoyed reading it. Better still, listen to the podcast that it was curated from and listen to the full discussion on how to become a better public speaker. On this note, one thing worth pointing out is the duty of parents and teachers towards children and young people towards encouraging them to be able to speak out. Building a child’s confidence from a very young age helps him/her to a great deal in overcoming the fears of public speaking when they grow up and find themselves in careers or fields that require them to be speaking to large crowds. Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more.