Do others listen to you when you speak? Do you motivate them to agree with you? Or, do you feel like people are being polite but not really paying attention to what you say? Here are seven public speaking tips to help you to inspire and lead any audience.
1. Talk About Your Perspective.
Remember this: your audience is there because they believe that you can help them. They want you to tell them something that they don’t know, or give them direction to solve a problem that they are facing. We want to learn a new perspective on the situations we all face every day. That is YOUR perspective.
2. Know Your Purpose.
Do you want your presentation to inform; to entertain; to persuade; or, to inspire? Decide this question early in your preparation. You should only have one central purpose. Your speaking time is limited, and you do not want to confuse the audience.
3. Know Your Message.
If you do not have a clear, concise message, then you are rambling. What do you want your audience to feel, act or think after they leave?
4. Know Your Audience.
Your audience is not “everybody.” They are people with specific needs. Know their problem. Understand their obstacles and limitations. The more you know your audience, the better you can connect with them, and the better you can help them.
5. Keep It Short and Simple.
You do not need to tell your audience everything you know. They won’t remember it. Your goal is to tell them what it means to them. KISS: Keep It Short and Simple. Ask yourself, “Does this information change or clarify my message?” If not, leave it out.
6. Use Stories to Make Your Points Memorable.
When you personalize your presentation with a story about one individual or group, the audience can relate to it, almost as if they are there. This helps them to understand and remember your point. It also helps you to relax, and to remember your presentation.
7. Take The Time To Prepare.
A good presentation takes time, effort and practice. This work will be rewarded by the response of the audience. Begin by composing a good talk. Before you finish, start to practice. You will find that your presentation will continue to change; it will evolve. Finally, before you are scheduled to talk, get comfortable with your surroundings and audience.
You earn special satisfaction when you give a good presentation. You become more confident, especially when the audience responds positively. More importantly, you have helped your audience. You have made a difference to someone who needed an answer, or needed some direction. That makes it all worthwhile. You now know how to inspire and lead.
Fred Haley is a certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker for the John Maxwell Program, and owner of ToastMentor, a communications training firm. He conducts public workshops and mentors business professionals to improve their presentations. Fred has published several books on public speaking. Follow Fred on Twitter @ToastMentor. Learn more on his website, ToastMentor.com.