Research shows us that public speaking is one of the thing most adults on this planet fear. Yet at some point in our lives we would have to embark on this scary act. How do we prepare for it? How do we ensure we garner our intellect and intelligence to produce the best presentation possible? This concise article will give you some pointers.
Plan appropriately: Enough cannot be written on planning. It is the bedrock of excellent execution. Planning involves researching your material, outlining the major points of your talk as well as knowing what date and time the event is so you don’t arrive late and disorganised. When you plan well, you do well. Ensure that you are well versed in your topic of choice and you can competently answer and defend any questions or objections raised by your audience.
Know the subject: If given the choice of subject pick something you are interested in and something you can motivate yourself to research easily. If you haven’t been given a choice of topic, then research the topic you have been given thoroughly. Ensure you are well versed in every aspect of the topic so you can comfortably relay your points before any audience. When you know your subject, it shows. It gives you extra confidence to execute your assignment effectively.
Know your audience: Research your audience. Ensure you know your audience so you can relate with them and see things from their perspective. It is also important you know what they know so you don’t end up telling them what they already know, rather you want to build up their knowledge on the topic you’d be talking about. For example, if you were giving a talk at a Photography conference, there would be no need to define or explain Photography terms like Depth of Field and Aperture; whereas if you were to give the same talk a room full of Engineers you may have to expand those terms.
Communicate effectively: In public speaking, clear and concise communication is everything.
There are 7Cs to communicating effectively. Communication needs to be:
i. Clear: Keep your ideas simple enough that everyone can follow your line of thought.
ii. Concise: No one likes a longwinded talk. Keep it short and sweet.
iii. Concrete: Make a solid statement. Let the audience understand what you stand for
iv. Correct: Ensure you facts and statements are accurate. Pronounce names correctly.
v. Coherent: Be consistent with your talk so your points all build up a coherent form
vi. Complete: Follow through to ensure your audience gets the holistic message
vii. Courage: Keep your ideas witty, friendly and fun. Be open and honest.
Practice: “Practice makes perfect.” Consistently practicing and perfecting is the best way to enhance your Public Speaking skills. Practice subdues your fears and increases your confidence. Practicing in front of peers also shows you your weaknesses and areas you can improve on. Practicing in front of a mirror helps build your body language; practicing with a recording device on your mobile phone helps enhance your enunciations and intonations.
You could also join speaking groups like Toastmasters International to get together with likeminded people who speak in turn and give each other feedback as they go. Lots of great motivational speakers are renowned Toastmasters members.