There are people who will stand in front of an audience and you can hear a pin drop. For others, everyone in the room begins to yawn, fidget on the seat and check on their gadgets, among other signals of discomfort.
The difference between the best public speakers and the terrible ones lies in observance of the following 10 tips.
1) Prepare For Your Session
The most competitive stars around the world spend most of their time preparing their art. There are thousands of hours behind the perfect shots you see on the court or the multiple medals that athletes hang on their necks after a few minutes or even seconds of performance. This underlines the need to prepare for your appearance.
Preparation involves understanding what is expected of you once you step onto the podium. Identify the topic on which you are expected to talk about. Know the amount of time allocated and the type of audience you will be addressing. Your mind and body will be ready for the presentation.
2) It Is About The Audience, Not Yourself
You will be speaking but it is the judgment of the audience that will matter. You must understand the needs of the audience and make your preparations with this audience in mind. What will they be expecting once they see you behind the microphone? If you deliver to their expectations, they will listen keenly. If their expectations are not met, it will be an unfortunate flop.
Each audience is unique. You, therefore, can prepare similar content but deliver it differently based on the audience. An audience could be made of high school students. You have to use language and expressions that they can relate to. When speaking to professionals, the language demands jargon and contemporary imagery. Children require a lot of engagement and participation. Each audience will demand that you twist your presentation to meet their needs.
3) Know Your Stuff
The public wants a person who knows what he or she is saying. One of the most important public speaking skills you will ever need to learn is understanding the subject of your speech. It is tiring to listen to a speaker who stammers because he or she does not understand the subject of discussion. It is even worse to listen to technical errors that are thrown around without any regard for accuracy.
Take time to read through high-quality books and reference materials. Seek to provide the latest information in the field. The listeners are looking for the great value in your speech and not a repetition of the idea they already known.
4) Prepare Your Apparatus
Public speaking requires a great deal of organization. You need to order your ideas so that they flow well from the beginning of your presentation to the end. Know whether you will be using PowerPoint, screens and flip charts, among other apparatus.
It is common to assume these tools because you have been used to them. Rehearse to use the presentation tools like projectors and microphones so that you can have an easy time during the actual exercise. The smooth use of these apparatus does not come automatically. Rehearsal also ensures that you are familiar with how these apparatus are manipulated. You will not be shocked when you give what you think is an ordinary instruction and the equipment performs a different task.
5) Look The Part
Public speaking is about convincing an audience about your ideas. This takes more than words. Visual perception plays a crucial role in driving the message home. When you are talking about gadgets, for example, use as many of them as possible to drive the point home. If you do not look the part, it will be extremely difficult to convince listeners that your point is valid.
The organization and apparatus that a listener sees on stage must send the first message. They set the stage for what you are about to deliver. People must not listen to a talk on serenity while the entire environment screams of noise.
6) Have A Mentor By Your Side
There are persons who are known to be trailblazers in public speaking. Watch how they do their thing and try to learn one or two lessons. There is a reason these speakers have dominated their generation or industry. Though they are not perfect, you will learn a few tricks on how they open their speeches, handle their audience, use their voice and conclude their speeches, among other aspects.
There are millions of videos of presentations by the best public speakers around the world. Watch these videos or follow their live events through the media. You are not supposed to imitate their form of presentation. The idea is to learn a few tricks that you can use to enhance your skills.
7) A Coach Will Do A Great Deal Of Good
There are technical elements of speech that every speaker must bear in mind. Learning in a non-structured manner will not deliver the results you desire. Work with a coach to develop a unique presentation pattern that will suit each audience.
Coaches are crucial when rehearsing for your presentation. They know what the industry wants. They have seen numerous presentations and will help you polish your own to make it more appealing. Coaches will also guide you on areas where you might have exaggerated and where you need emphasis. The coaches should be well versed in the industry and requirements of the events you will be participating in.
8) Buy The Idea First
The audience will take up the energy or vibrations that you exude. If you show passion and believe in what you are saying, they will take that in your voice, gestures and facial expressions, among other avenues. Unless it comes from your heart, no one will ever believe in what you are delivering.
It is not always that you will be discussing an issue that you are convinced of. According to top public speakers, you need to emphasize on the ideas that you believe in. Keep away from ideas that you are uncomfortable with because the hesitation and lack of belief will be felt with every word you produce.
9) Adapt To The Current Situation
The best speakers prepare with a full understanding of what to expect. However, things do not always turn out to be what you expect. The solution is to adapt to the situation at hand. Prepare for what you have no idea.
The topic may be twisted a little. The audience may change into a more intimidating one. The time may be reduced or increased. All these changes should never affect your confidence. Prepare to make your best presentation regardless of prevailing circumstances.
10) Be unique
People have watched some of the best public speaking forums around the world. Some speakers have wowed audiences and their presentations are watched millions of times over the internet. This is not a reason to copy or repeat what they have done.
Develop a unique public speaking brand for yourself. It should be memorable because of how you do your thing and carry your audience with you. There is no fame or winning when you imitate other people. Already, the style they are using has been taken away and is known. Once you try to imitate them, you will be trying too hard.
By working with a coach, you will identify the unique elements that you can choose to make your presentation stand out. There is no doubt that you have to copy part of what other speakers have used. However, twist it to look unique and define you.
Being a top public speaker requires an understanding of your subject, rehearsal, and mastering of your audience. Make the audience to feel special by the way you use language, props, and engagement. Engage a professional coach who will help you polish your public speaking skills.