Multiple polls have shown that the fear of public speaking ranks higher than any other phobia, including death. Most individuals, it would seem, would instead enter their eternal destiny early than risk appearing foolish for a fraction of a second. Like most choices concerning the afterlife, this perspective is myopic, as the advantages of planning for both scenarios outweigh the negatives.
There are Numerous Advantages to Public Speaking.
The benefits of public speaking include: * improved communication skills * increased credibility as an expert in your field * new opportunities for you and your company * networking with influential members of your community and field * and new and lasting friendships.
There Are Not Many Natural-Born Orators
I was always the class misfit when I was younger and the last person picked for any team. A person’s feeling of self-worth may suffer, as may be predicted, under such a circumstance. I had some experience with the soldering iron, so I enrolled in a semester of Electronics when I was in the seventh grade. When I checked my new schedule, I saw that Speech and Drama had replaced Electronics because all the boys wanted that.
In a state of frozen dread, fear, and astonishment, I was suddenly surrounded by kids who, unlike me, seemed to be both popular and gorgeous. Worse yet, I was almost immediately assigned a prepared speech, which I had to make in front of my class, and three times at a regional Speech Contest. The event is scheduled for a Saturday.
The speech was a bit of a stand-up comedy act, and when I gave it that Saturday morning in front of a room full of other contenders, my fear quickly gave way to something else. Laughs started coming after my first couple of jokes. I was energized by the enthusiastic response and beaming from the applause when my five minutes were gone. This was a traumatic experience similar to one I had as a youngster, only in reverse.
But I realized something crucial: The only thing that should make you afraid indeed is fear itself.
When you have confidence in public speaking, people take notice.
I have already stated that public speaking is most people’s greatest dread. This innate fear inspires awe and respect in those who can stand before an audience and convey with conviction, power, interest, information, and entertainment. The ability to do so immediately establishes you as a go-to source of knowledge. If you stick to some standard practices, making a presentation like this is a breeze. Here are some strategies that have helped me tremendously; they should do the same for you.
Facing your greatest fear
If you’re like most individuals terrified of public speaking, practicing in front of a mirror every day will help you overcome your anxiety. You can build your self-assurance, break bad habits, and establish good ones by practicing public speaking in front of a small group of people who will both encourage and critique you. The first step you should take in getting ready for what’s to come is to join Toastmasters International and start attending the weekly sessions. When you join, we’ll send you a welcome packet that includes a variety of speech subjects and exercises to perform in front of the club. Doing so will allow you to hone your skills and discover your potential.
Get Ready and Exercise
My finest piece of advice is to always go into presentations fully prepared. Prepare and practice extensively to boost your self-assurance. Your audience must sense your assurance. We’ve all heard speakers we knew we didn’t have 100% faith in. No of your political leanings, you can’t deny Ronald Reagan’s reputation as “The Great Communicator.” The presence of a crowd never bothered Reagan. He was funny when he needed to be and inspirational when he needed to be. And many others agreed with him.
I always run through my entire presentation twice a day in rehearsal before giving it to an audience of any size over 30 days. Beforehand, I devote time to preparing a well-researched, well-organized, and well-written presentation. I put in a few more hours of effort on it.
Make Good Use of Visual Aids
There are two goals to consider when employing a visual aid. For your purposes, the primary benefit is that they provide you with distractions and cover. Nothing tests your mettle like being completely exposed in front of an audience (while still dressed to the nines, of course). Although it requires a lot more effort and practice, it is possible. If you want to improve your company presence through public speaking but don’t have time to become a professional actor, a variety of props can help take the focus off of you and onto something else. Your audience will thank you, too, because this will make your presentation more exciting and appealing to their senses.
I’ve seen speakers use anything from balloons to white boards to Tinker Toys to beach balls to milk bottles to playing cards. However, you must ensure that every piece of prop you use complements your presentation. It’s great when an item that seems entirely out of place at the beginning of a sequence is the ideal representation toward the end. Your listeners will well receive your wittiness.
When giving a PowerPoint presentation, it can be helpful to present in complete darkness so that the audience’s focus is on the screen and not on you. The one proviso is to avoid the “Dilbert” presentation style of infinite white pages with black lettering. People listening to you will quickly nod off. The majority of my best presentations include visuals. I try to have one image on each slide, no matter how small. Then there will be some slides with lots of pictures and not much writing. This is a terrific way to move from one topic to another. Once, at the beginning of a speech, I used bullet points. I noticed a general dulling of interest on the part of the audience. However, when the Stock Market charts came on, the room instantly came to life, and I could see people getting out of their seats excitedly.
If your talk is more extended than thirty minutes, you should schedule some time for questions. Each section ends with a slide bearing a giant question mark. Taking questions at set intervals during your presentation maintains audience participation but limits its organic development. People get annoyed when they have to wait until the end of a lengthy lecture to ask questions. They will calmly wait, though, provided they know they can put in their query within the following ten minutes.
The availability of necessary tools is crucial to consider in planning. If you want to give a PowerPoint presentation but don’t have a laptop, ensure the audience can access a computer. Keep copies of your presentation on a disk and a thumb drive in case your primary delivery method fails. If you need to use a presentation format not installed on the borrowed computer, such as PowerPoint, be sure to bring along the PowerPoint Viewer. It’s preferable if you bring your laptop. Check that it can be attached to a wide variety of projectors. Since projectors are costly, ensure they offer one if you don’t bring your own. Ascertain the make and model, if at all possible. Never be without your laser pointer.
You Have a Discreet Power
Always assume that 95 percent of your listeners are entirely in the dark. You are the go-to person because of your extensive preparation and investigation. You’ll feel more assured after doing this. But it would help if you also figured that the other 5% of your listeners have far more in-depth knowledge and expertise than you do. Keep your sense of humility by doing this.
People will be drawn to your charming blend of self-assurance and modesty. You’ll gain both financially rewarding and helpful followers and mentors. Keep studying and improving your abilities. Keep a PowerPoint prepared and look for venues to speak at, such as local businesses and civic organizations. Speakers are a constant requirement for organizations like this. And they need both exciting and informative presenters to provide their talks for free. You fit that description.
Remember to Ask for the Closing
Remember that your efforts ultimately serve a greater purpose of growing your organization. Your talk is a chance to make a sale. You should put your most vital contact information (logo, website URL, and phone number) on the very last slide of your PowerPoint presentation. When answering questions at the end of your presentation, this slide should remain on the screen.
You might wish to print off some handouts to distribute to everyone or at least to the key people in the group. Your audience will lose interest if they have access to the handouts before you give the presentation.
Keep a stack of business cards on hand at all times. More than I’ll need. Have a great brochure or frequently asked questions document handy, too.
If your work has been published, bring as many copies as possible and have someone available to take orders at the table. Your books will be provided to the guests at the corporate event at no cost to the company as part of your fee. Signed by hand, of course!
Prepare a PDF copy of your presentation to share with the group. Find out who in the group has a website that could use your expertise by talking to as many of them as feasible. Make them a PDF version of your presentation to share on their website. Or, you may offer to send them your presentation’s HTML page. Both of these strategies work very well and can yield some high-quality Backlinks.
It is professional to bring up these possibilities early in your discussions with the group to set up your speaking engagement. One audience member captured my talk and spliced the audio into their PowerPoint slides. To this day, it can be found on their website. Keep an MP4 of your presentation on hand if they decide to use a program like Camtasia Studio to create their own.
Speaking in front of an audience is a daunting yet ultimately rewarding experience. I pray that I have motivated you to expand your company. You should do it; it will be worth it.
Rick LaPoint is an expert in both internal and external marketing and sales. He has given several live lectures to teach technical, and analytical skills, and his software products are available in Pascal and C++. In addition to Internet Marketing, Rick maintains several other sites, all of which may be found at RickLaPoint.com.