A few simple strategies can improve your ability to deliver a winning speech or presentation. And your audience will thank you by hanging on every word. If you want to upgrade your speaking skills, here are four points to remember:
1 – Focus your message.
What’s the one big idea you want the audience to hear and understand? Define your key message in 20 words or less.
2 – Create an interesting ‘hook’.
From your first words you want your audience leaning forward in eager anticipation. The opening of your speech or presentation is the most important part. If you don’t engage your listeners, get them on your side and get them excited, you don’t have much chance of holding them through to the end. Get their interest. Get creative. Show them, right from your first word, you’re an interesting speaker who has something valuable to offer.
Perhaps you could start with a short story making a point which leads into your theme. Or a question. Or a quote. Challenge the audience. Ask them to imagine a situation. Do something to get them leaning forward and listening attentively.
3 – Tell stories.
Stories are how we turn facts into memories. If you want to persuade people to believe you, follow you, work with you or buy your product – you need stories… stories that validate your claims, make your abstract arguments concrete, and make your facts memorable. Of course we need facts, and charts, and graphs. But facts are forgettable. Stories are sticky. Stories are the duct tape that allow your facts to stick a little longer in the minds of your audiences.
4 – Lift your head.
Make eye contact. Identify friendly, interested faces and speak to them.
And remember you are talking to your audience, not reading at them. That’s at the heart of our TalkitOut technique for public speaking and presentation skills training.
Check out the ‘before and after’ videos on our website to see how even experienced speakers improve their speaking skills with the TalkitOut technique.
Halina St James takes the worry out of presentations with her Present Like a Pro video training course. It’s available now from the Podium Coaching online store, together with her popular TalkitOut: From Fears to Cheers e-book and workbook.