Public Speaking Tips – How to Nail Your Next Presentation
Tips to nail your next public speaking presentation
Does the sheer thought of public speaking fill you with dread? If so, you’re not alone. Approximately 25% of people report having a fear of speaking in public. The good news is that with the right approach and plenty of practice, anyone can master an effective speaking presentation. The following public speaking tips, tricks, and best practices will help an amateur public speaker nail their next presentation and will also help those proficient in public speaking take things to the next level.
Public Speaking Tips | Preparing for the Speech
Tip #1: Practice and Prepare
The number-one tip that everyone needs to remember is to practice and prepare! Nervousness is normal, but if you’ve prepared properly, you will do just fine! Be sure to create your speech outline well in advance. Then review, review, and review some more. When you’re feeling comfortable with the material, it’s time to practice – a lot. We recommend recording yourself to review it and find opportunities to improve.
Tip #2: Know Your Audience
Each of the public speaking tips that we’re sharing is important, but this one is imperative. Knowing your audience will help you determine your choice of words, the type of information to include, and how casual or formal your interaction with them should be. For example, you don’t want to bore your audience with details they already know, nor do you want to overwhelm them. Once you have a clear understanding of your audience, you’ll be able to confidently craft a message that will engage them and keep them interested.
Tip #3: Don’t Overload Your Slides
Speaking presentations are usually accompanied by visuals. Having visual aids helps to complement your words and emphasize your main takeaway. Often people will use Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides, Prezi, or something similar to create visuals, but the key is to keep it simple. The slides must be clear, concise, and nice-looking. Try not to include more than one message per slide. The audience should not be trying to read the slides and listening to you at the same time. Use visual aids to highlight your main points. Also, be sure that your presentation will still work should you run into technical issues!
Public Speaking Tips | Delivering Your Presentation
Now that you’ve written your presentation, created the visual aids, researched the audience, practiced, and practiced some more — you’re ready to give your presentation. Here are some important public speaking tips that will help to ensure that your body language, tone, pace, and audience engagement are on point!
Tip #1: Engage with Your Audience
Think of your presentation as a conversation rather than a performance. Invite your audience in. Create a dialogue when you’re able. This will help you audience feel engaged and take some of the pressure off of you. As you’re giving your presentation, also be sure to keep an eye on your audience and stay flexible. Watch for their silent feedback and try to adapt to it. It’s never recommended that someone read from a notecard when delivering a speech, and this is just one reason why. If you’re looking down at a notecard, you’re most certainly missing all of the important feedback your audience is giving you, and this means you’re also missing opportunities to respond. Another great way to engage with your audience is by letting your personality shine through. Be yourself. This is a great way to establish credibility and gain the trust of your audience. You can also use humor, tell stories, and have fun.
Tip #2: Pay Attention to Body Language
No one should underestimate the importance of body language. Your eye contact, facial expressions, head movements, hand gestures, and body posture all play a role in communication. Have you ever watched someone over-gesture or under-gesture? Maybe their hands were flying all over the place while they paced the stage. Or the opposite could happen, where a presenter doesn’t move a single muscle while speaking. It’s a good idea to avoid both of these scenarios.
Here is an easy formula to remember when working on body language for public speaking: NODS (Neutral, Open, Defined, and Strong).
“You should begin in a neutral position with hands at your sides. That may feel awkward at first, but it looks fine to people watching. It’s what helps keep you open to your audience, so that influence flows freely in both directions. Gesture sparingly, using defined or ‘clean’ hand movements. That will help make them strong. Follow the NODS formula, and your upper body movement will always support and amplify what you say.”
Tip #3: Slow Down
Speeding through your presentation, whether intentional or not, is a good way to confuse your audience and ensure that they won’t take anything away from the lesson you’re trying to share. When practicing your speech, remember that you should never speak as fast as you do in a normal conversation. Some people speak up to 400 words a minute in a lively conversation, but in a speech, you should aim for about 150 words per minute. This takes practice. Another important public speaking tip is to plan pauses between your sentences. Similar to how a musician keeps time with their toes, a public speaker can keep pace the same way. Try to add pauses about two or three toe taps in length between sentences to help you keep a steady pace.
Tip #4: Think Positively!
Simply put, thinking positively can help you feel more confident, which is sure to come through in your presentation. Use affirmations to help you stay in a positive mindset and nail your presentation!