17 Tips to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills…

  • Define Your End Goal

The first thing to do when preparing a speech is to define your end goal. What do you want the audience to do after they leave the room? What information should they walk away with? Once you’ve defined what you want your audience to take away, build your talking points around supporting that goal. This lends itself to a more focused and actionable speech that provides real value to your audience. For example, let’s say a big conference has invited you to speak about how small businesses can grow their sales organizations. Start by nailing down your objective. If it’s getting the audience to hire you as a sales consultant, build your speaking topic around five things preventing small sales organizations from scaling.

 

  • Be a Giver, Not a Taker

Renowned speaker Simon Sinek, “We are highly social animals. Even at a distance onstage, we can tell if you’re a giver or a taker, and people are more likely to trust a giver — a speaker that gives them value, that teaches them something new, that inspires them — than a taker.” Once you’ve defined your end goal, build a presentation that offers real value to your audience, regardless of whether they pursue your product or service. If you immediately and doggedly pitch your consulting service throughout your presentation, you’ll probably lose your audience’s trust, and the remainder of your presentation will lose its credibility. Offer tips and strategies that will be fresh, useful, and insightful for your audience. And make any business pitches subtle and at the end of your presentation.

 

  • Make Slides an Aid, Not a Crutch

The American Speech, Language & Hearing Association recommends using keywords, instead of sentences or paragraphs on your slides. This helps your audience focus on your message. The ASHA also suggest bulleting body copy, using punctuation sparingly, and never using more than eight words per line or eight lines per slide. Another rule of thumb is to make your font size double the average age of your audience. This means the font for most of your presentations will be between 60 and 80 points. When it comes to the age-old question “Prezi or PowerPoint?”, a recent Harvard study suggests there is a right answer. Research shows that Prezi’s “focus on meaningful movement” makes it a more effective presentation medium than PowerPoint. So next time you want to impress your audience, give Prezi a try.

 

  • Practice (But Really, Practice)

Are you already rolling your eyes and skimming past this section? I don’t blame you. But so often, public speakers are under-prepared. Maybe your assistant created your slides and you’ve just scrolled through them a few times. Or maybe you’ve rehearsed your presentation by yourself, but haven’t run it by anyone else. Make sure you’re practicing your presentation in front of several groups of people. Present to coworkers or to someone who represents your target audience. Ask for honest, critical feedback on the good, the bad, and the ugly of your presentation. It’s also smart to record yourself during one of your practice runs, so that you can review areas that need work.

 

  • Eat Well & Burn Cortisol

Eating a protein-packed snack before a public speaking engagement boosts your energy, focus, and mood. But what if there were a way to decrease stress too? Well, there is. Cortisol, also known as the ‘’stress hormone’’ can interfere with your memory and limit your ability to process complex information. This can make it difficult to read your audience and react in the moment. To decrease your cortisol levels, exercise one to three hours before you speak. You’ll feel less stressed and your audience will benefit from your focus.

 

  • Meet Audience Members First

It’s always a good idea to meet a few of your audience members before taking the stage. This is a great way to calm pre-presentation jitters, not to mention network and recruit a few last-minute audience members into your meeting or session. Bonus points if you find a way to incorporate those conversations into your speech. To illustrate, suppose you talked with Laura from XYZ Sales at the coffee bar this morning. If Laura shared that sales recruitment is a big roadblock to scaling their sales team, include this anecdote in your presentation, along with tips on how you would approach the situation.

 

  • Give Yourself Time to Acclimate

Many speakers begin talking immediately after being introduced or walking onstage. Instead, try approaching the stage in silence. This gives you time to gather your thoughts, take a deep breath, and get used to being in front of the audience. It gives your audience the chance to get used to you as well. If they’re checking email or answering some last-minute texts, it provides a few buffer moments so they can wrap up. This pause also sets the tone for the rest of your speech, which should be evenly paced, effective, and purposeful.

 

  • Don’t Open with an Excuse

How many times have you heard a speaker start by saying, “Sorry, I didn’t have much time to prepare,” or “My flight was delayed last night, so I’m a little tired”? Your audience doesn’t care. Announcing to them that you haven’t prepared or are tired from a long flight won’t change the way your presentation is received or remembered. Don’t begin your presentation with an excuse. That makes the time about you, when it should be about your audience and how you can provide value to them.

 

9) Be Conversational

The first 30 seconds of a speaker’s presentation tell you almost everything you need to know about what’s next. That means you probably haven’t made it past introducing yourself before you’ve either lost or gained the attention of your audience. So how do you make the most of that first few seconds? First, be conversational. Use inflection in your voice and engage in natural, friendly body language. Instead of staying glued to your podium, walk casually back and forth in front of your audience. Gesture with your hands and make eye contact with individual people in front of you. Second, don’t memorize your content. You should understand the concepts you’re communicating and know the overall structure of your presentation, but don’t recite your speech word for word. You’ll seem rehearsed and less engaging.

 

  • Rejoice in the First Mistake

I once had an instructor who would openly rejoice when she made her first mistake in front of a large class. She said it took the pressure off for the remainder of her class, so she could simply relax and teach. While I wouldn’t recommend calling out the first mistake you make in front of your audience — they likely didn’t even notice — it is something you can quickly take note of internally. Don’t beat yourself up about it, feel embarrassed, or let it derail your composure. Simply acknowledge your first mistake and view it as permission to relax and move on with your presentation.

 

  • Tell Stories & Make It Personal

Think your audience doesn’t care about personal stories? Let me put it this way. They probably care more about the story you just told than the pie chart on the screen behind you. Your audience is more likely to remember and share the stories you tell than the stats and figures you pack your slides with. Make your presentation personal, and remind them that you’re human. Check out a few top TED Talks to learn how to flex your storytelling muscles. TED Talks are driven by powerful storytelling — which is one of the reasons they’re so memorable. Stories also give your audience more context around your topic, heightening their ability to relate and find value in what you have to say. Basically, when in doubt, tell a story.

 

  • Channel Nervous Energy into Positive Energy

If you’re not excited about your presentation, why would your audience be? One way to channel excitement into your public speaking is to transform nervous energy into positive energy. Simon Sinek has another great insight here. After watching reporters interview Olympic athletes, he noticed many of the athletes had similar responses when asked if they were nervous before competing. They answered, “No, I was excited.” Sinek points out that they translated the body’s signals of anxiety or stress — sweaty palms, neck tension, fast heartbeat — as excitement. When Sinek’s onstage and notices these same signs, he says out loud to himself, “I’m not nervous, I’m excited!”

 

  • Speak Slowly & Pause Often

Speaking slowly is hard to do — especially when you’re giving a presentation. But not only does a slower speed make it easier for your audience to understand, it also makes you seem more composed and thoughtful. Your pacing should feel a little unnatural. Only then have you probably found the right cadence. Another way to control the pace of your presentation is to routinely pause for between three and five seconds. This length of pause remains conversational, while allowing you to take a breath and refocus before moving forward. As a bonus, it’s just long enough to get people to look up from their smartphones to see why you’ve stopped.

 

  • Repeat Audience Questions

 

Whether you’re working a large room or a three-person meeting, try to repeat audience questions. In large settings, it gives everyone a chance to hear what was asked, keeping them engaged with and invested in your answer. In smaller settings, repeating audience questions gives you an extra few moments to gather your thoughts. More importantly, it ensures that you’ve understood what the question is and are actively listening to the needs of your audience members.

 

  • Reinforce Key Points

Repeating key points at multiple times throughout your presentation helps your audience retain what’s most important. A simple technique for doing so? Mention each key point three times. Introduce your main points in the agenda you share at the beginning, speak to each point clearly during your presentation, and close by reviewing and restating your main points.

 

  • Use Video & GIFs Sparingly

I know, I know — this one is unpopular. GIFs and video can be a great way to break up your presentation and re-engage a drifting audience. But they can also distract listeners from the important points you’re making. When appropriate, throw in a GIF or video. But make sure it aids in your storytelling, instead of distracting from it. A truly engaging public speaker will be able to present impactfully without gimmicks. If you’re tempted to add a third GIF to your presentation, take a harder look at the quality of content you’re preparing. Could you illustrate that point better with a thoughtful anecdote or past experience?

 

  • Always End Early & Say Thanks

Whether your audience gave you five minutes of their attention or an hour, end early and say, “Thank you.” Time is a precious commodity, and they chose to spend a significant portion of it with you. Be respectful of that time and always end early — especially if you’re expecting a longer Q&A period. If people have questions, you want to make the most of every second before you lose them to the next session or meeting.

Public speaking is an art, and one that can take years to perfect. By following these tips for effective public speaking, you’ll start to notice benefits immediately.

Source: https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/effective-public-speaking-tips

What is Toastmasters?

Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Headquartered in Englewood, Colo., the organization’s membership exceeds 364,000 in more than 16,200 clubs in 145 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders.

Break Barriers, Not Your Budget

Members pay international dues of € 95.00 every year. With Toastmasters, the learning never stops. Join Toastmasters and you will:

  • Improve your public speaking skills
  • Build leadership skills
  • Maximize your potential
  • Enjoy unlimited personal growth
  • Work on networking in a small and supportive environment
  • Practice writing speeches and presenting in a group setting
  • Gain a competitive advantage in the workplace
  • Build self-confidence and self-awareness

How Does Toastmasters Work?

Everything in Toastmasters revolves around the club. With a network of 16,800 clubs across 143 countries, you are sure to find one near you! Most clubs have around 20 members and meet once a fortnight for an hour to two hours.

Each club features a unique culture, so there’s no pressure to join the first club you visit! Attending club meetings as a guest is free, so visit as many as you like until you find a club that fits your personality.

What is Pathways?

The Pathways learning experience is Toastmasters’ education program. This multi-language online learning tool allows you to leverage over 300 practical workplace skills, including:

  • Interview Preparation
  • Online Meeting Management
  • Leadership Development
  • Project Management
  • Conflict Resolution

Are You Ready to Join?

After you find a club that you like, joining is easy. When you join, you will be assigned a mentor, who will be there to answer any questions you have and help guide you on your journey to personal and professional growth.

help with speach Galway

While a common misconception of the term “public speaking” is talking to a huge number of audience, this isn’t always the case. As a matter of fact, you’ll find that small group public speaking engagements are more common. Examples for this are sales pitches, corporate presentations, workshops and indeed wedding speeches.

However, regardless of the audience size, speaking in front is just as nerve-racking. Your audience may be smaller, but the amount of pressure remains the same. Take note of the following tips in order to ensure the utmost effectiveness of your speech.

  1. Know who are in your audience. We’re sticking with the importance of knowing who your audience are i.e. your guests. Doing this will already give you a head start towards establishing a solid connection. This will make it easier for you in getting your speech across. This will also help you in coming up with a speech that is highly relatable.
  2. Exercise small group dynamics. Since the wedding is set to a minimum, the wedding guests will be able to interact more closely to each other. This is a good opportunity to engage with them. You, as the speaker, can be garrulous or talkative, but let them react, laugh, applaud you and indeed reminisce. Aside from facilitating engagement, this is also good way to make sure that they truly get what you are talking about.
  3. Mind your pacing. Because the group is smaller, you can easily tell how well the guests is keeping up with you. You can simply detect a puzzled look, a curious mind, or a totally uninterested individual. Once you start noticing these signs from your audience, you may want to slow down or fasten up a little bit.
  4. Energize! A small group’s energy is far less bigger than a large group. You have to consistently maintain the energy of the crowd to make sure that none of the listeners are dozing off. You can look into their eyes and further establish that one-on-one connection.
  5. Maximize movement. In planning your movements, make sure that your visual aids, if any, won’t be blocked. After making sure that everything is okay, you can then smartly use movement for impact and emphasis. We suggest practicing your movements ahead together with your speech. This way, you can properly plan and avoid exaggeration or under ration. Do note, however, that movement when delivering an actual wedding speech should be kept to a minimum.

Just because your audience is smaller than the usual does not mean that they are of lesser value. Keep this in mind, having a more limited set of an audience gives you the opportunity for a more intimate relationship with them. Use this to your advantage to ensure the utmost effectiveness of your speech.

Source: spio.sg

Diana Beyer writes about speaking Online and more specifically about delivering a course Online. Here we have taken some of her content and tailored around what is important for any speech delivered Online.

But firstly, what are the Differences Between Offline And Online Speeches

Differences Between Offline And Online Speeches 

Let’s start making sure that you understand the difference between an online and an offline speech – just bear in mind that we are talking here about courses that don’t involve live video conferences.

First of all, it is an uncontrolled environment. Meaning that you can’t be sure of what your students are doing while you talk. You won’t be able to see their faces, analyse their reactions, so you can make adjustments from there. The feedback you are more likely to get will come only after the end of your course, meaning that it will be very late and expensive to change anything.

Secondly, it might be watched in blocks. As the content is available in a way that a student can use it anytime and for as long as they want it, they might not watch your video in full, but a couple of minutes per time.

Thirdly, interactivity will be established in a very different way. This is most likely to happen through emails or forums, as there is no way to know who will be online when. So strategies that involve asking questions to your audience are completely out of the table here.

Now that you have in mind the challenges you have to face, let’s go to the tips that will help you with them.

  1. Make sure that your equipment is right

 

This is really critical. No matter how brilliant you are as a speaker, your microphone and camera can ruin you from the very start. So take your time to test your equipment, the lightning, your computer, your whiteboard (if you are using one), or any other resources that you will use for it. Get to know what are the best things available when it comes to technologies. Choose your best angle (yes, it does exist!) and listen to your own voice. Record a few tests and see how it went. Ask other people’s opinion too, especially if you know someone with the same description of your target audience (read the next tip). And don’t forget to do it all over again just before you start, as some settings might need to be adjusted again.

  1. Get to know your audience

Who are your audience? How young/old are they? Where are they from? What is their background? What are they looking for? You need to answer these and other questions if you like to get your speech right. Depending on what you find out, you might need to adapt your vocabulary, your tone of voice, and how you organize what you are going to say. If you ignore it, you might sound too academic or just boring. They even might not understand you all together, and your content will get poor reviews for this easy-to-fix reason. So look for them wherever you can, from social media to your nearby coffee shop. But find out what you need to know so you can customize your speech to your target audience.

  1. Get inspired

You should always watch speeches similar to the one you are about to record so that you can get inspired. Of course, pick the instructors with the highest reviews, but make sure that you analyse the comments, so you know you are both dealing with the same audience and level of expertise. Not that you are going to be copying them, as you should learn to develop your own style. But finding out what works, getting everything organized using mobile apps or even your notebooks, and adapting it to your own needs is something that you should consider.

  1. Inspire them

Now that you have inspired yourself, it is your time to inspire them. The biggest challenge is to keep your audience interested, and this is your task as well, something that you will be trying to accomplish by being persuasive. As often as possible, you should challenge and encourage your audience. They need to believe that they are capable of doing something by themselves, so don’t make the process too hard, but also don’t underestimate their abilities. Surprise them and congratulate them during your speech, as if they were there. Use positive words, and let them know what is expected of them and what they should do next.

  1. Watch your body language

Here is where your words become less important, and you start to pay attention to how you say it. At this stage, your body language can be your best friend or your worst enemy as it gives away your intentions, experience and fears. What you should do here is to record yourself delivering the speech and check your body language (not the content). Among others, you should look for the following behaviours:

  • Your hands should be used wisely, to point out things and reinforce what you want to say
  • Your body should be balanced, so keep it feet shoulder apart
  • Pronounce your words clearly and breath calmly, so you will sound confident
  • Remember to include 5-10 seconds pauses, so they can have the time to reflect and take notes
  1. The Takeaway 

If you want to be a successful online instructor and deliver persuasive speeches, you will need to take it seriously and prepare yourself for your audience.

Of course, you need to know the content by heart, but as a speaker, you know that this is only 50% (or less) of the requirements. And that if you don’t manage to engage your audience and keep them interested, all your efforts could go to waste.

So make you sure that you also do your homework and that you know what you audience wants from you. Check your equipment, and test and train your speech before delivery.

Source: www.elearningindustry.com/6-tips-deliver-persuasive-speeches-elearning

Ashley Bowen Cook tells us that most of us will do many more small-group presentations in our life than standing in front of a large crowd. Whether you’re presenting to an internal team or a group of shareholders or at a social occasion, she offers a few suggestions to keep your audience engaged and your points remembered.

Set the scene

Provide an overview of what you’re going to say. Set the scene. You don’t have to have a formal speech written out, in fact, please don’t do that. People will tune out. But you shouldn’t completely wing it. Jot down an outline of key points, even if you don’t refer to them when you’re talking. They will help you make a mental map and ensure you hit the points you want to make. It will also help you make them quicker. You will ramble less.

Establish yourself as an expert. But do it quickly. People want to learn from you. Not listen to your life story, though I’m sure it’s fascinating.

Manage your time

Ask if anyone has the experience to share. This invites participation and immediately makes it more of a conversation than a presentation. This kind of discussion can enrich the presentation by making it more relevant and real. Just don’t lose control. Manage your time and move on when you need to.

Present the material. Clearly, concisely and in a manner that helps people remember your message later. That can be through bold visuals, props, a listing of your top three to five points, and through stories. We remember anecdotes, the more personal the better. “I witnessed… I experienced…”

Modulate your energy level to capture and maintain attention. Provide variety. Raise and lower your volume to create interest and emphasize key points. Enunciate so people don’t have to strain to catch your words. Show your enthusiasm.

Help people understand the relevance of what you’re sharing. If something appears to have no connection to you, you’ll tune it out. Find commonality. This requires an understanding of your audience. Why should they care about what you say? Answer that question in your presentation.

Think about what your audience needs and wants to know. The curse of knowledge can make us blind to key points we should make but don’t. Put yourself in their place.

Make eye contact

Watch your audience. Make eye contact. Ensure people are engaged. Pick up on cues people may be sending. Are they acting restless? Checking the time? Even worse, nodding off?

Finally

Leave ample time for Q&A. Too often we squander the front end of our presentation with useless chitchat or meandering, then scramble and cut things short toward the end. The question-and-answer period can be the most important part of your presentation. Don’t give it short shrift.

Open your Q&A by asking, “Before I close, do you have any questions?” This lets people know you will remain in control and you will close the session on time, not simply trail off. Always repeat questions to ensure everyone heard it – and that you heard it correctly, too. This also buys you a little time to formulate your answer.

If you get unfriendly or combative questions, answer them as factually as you can and move on. Same thing with soft questions. If someone asks something that doesn’t advance understanding or add anything new, don’t spend any more time on those than you need to. Try to add some new information then move on.

Close by repeating your key points. Thank your audience and provide your email or a link where attendees can download your presentation or resources or follow up with you individually. Do all this and your next presentation ought to be a winner.

 

Source: www.gretemangroup.com