As a psychologist who is also a professional speaker I am often asked by people how to gain in confidence so they can get up on stage and easily share their gifts and passions. What I have always found is that the way you talk reflects your personality and displays the amount of confidence you have in your message.
The power to efficiently communicate and persuade people can make all the difference between a boring speech that puts people to sleep and a powerful one that leaves a lasting impression. If your speech contains powerful content but is delivered poorly, you’ll miss out on an opportunity to impact the lives of your audience in a positive way.
Try these tips to turn your next presentation from a drab, boring affair to a dynamic, powerful presentation that your audience will remember for a long time to come:
1. Prepare thoroughly. Preparation is the key to a successful presentation. If you speak with authority, people will listen. The only way to speak with authority, however, is to know the material of your speech backwards and forwards. And believe what you are saying! If you are speaking from a place of authenticity, your audience will recognize it.
2. Move your body with confidence. If you’re slouched over and your hands are shaking, or worse yet, you are fiddling with your speech notes and not making eye contact, your audience will get the impression that you lack the knowledge that makes you worthy of listening to. Gesture confidently with your hands as you speak and use eye contact with your audience.
3. Try not to over-use notes. The more familiar you are with your speech’s content, the more interesting your speech becomes to your audience. Reading your speech is boring, but speaking from an outline of key points in a natural, conversational way draws your crowd in so they are encouraged to listen closely.
4. Dress to impress. If your dress is too casual or inappropriate in any way, your audience will quickly turn away and become bored. Ensure your clothes are as comfortable as possible, but just a little bit nicer than the occasion calls for.
5. Anticipate questions and answer them. What are the most frequently asked questions about your topic? When you present the material, what challenges can you imagine coming from your audience? Prepare for these objections and questions, and address them in the body of your speech.
6. Answer the most important questions. When people hear you speak, they’re really looking for you to answer only two questions. Answer those questions, and your speech will be remembered fondly for a long time to come.
Speaking in public is one of the biggest fears of our society. With solid preparation and wise choices on the day of your presentation, however, you can create a lasting impression in the hearts and minds of your audience.