The ability to deliver a compelling, well-prepared and practiced speech can offer a number of significant benefits in both your personal and professionals lives. TED Talks offer a prime example of the motivational power a good public speaker has on his or her audience’s ability to feel, relate, and understand complex social, philosophical, and technological issues. While you might think that you need to be an expert in a particular field in order to give an outstanding speech, an ability to passionately convey your message can effectively move your entire audience. If you want to impress the people listening to you when presenting, you have to work at becoming a powerful presenter.
Before you panic and start picturing the audience in their underwear, know that public speaking and presenting is a skill that can be develop with time and practice. To help you improve your skills as a public speaker, here are a few tips to help you present with the power needed to successfully drive your message home.
Always Be in Control
Your presentation begins the moment you walk to the front of the room or onto the stage. Just your body language alone can either win over or lose some members of your audience from the very beginning. This means that even before you’re announced, you need to be ready to seize command of the situation.
If you’re not an experienced public speaker, it’s normal to feel anxious or nervous before your big moment arrives. As a result, it’s critical that you control your emotions and exude a sense of calm from the very beginning of your presentation. To take the edge off, try taking a few deep breaths as you’re being announced, then make your way to the podium. Don’t feel the need to rush the stage in an effort to demonstrate high energy or excitement. It’s better that you make yourself comfortable by taking your time if needed. Remember to acknowledge any positive reactions you may receive from the crowd such as applause, as this can help generate and maintain momentum before you even begin to speak.
Open and Close with Conviction
You need to know your opening and closing by heart. The first words that come out of your mouth once in front of the audience need to have an impact, while the final words should leave a lasting impression. Unfortunately, you cannot achieve this kind of effect by reading from your notes.
Many of the best public speakers open with a joke or a quote, but anything that instantly establishes a connection with your audience and captures their attention will do. Jokes can be risky, as they can always fall flat. To avoid this kind of potentially awkward start, only use jokes when you know the audience.
Rather than start humorous, try opening by reciting a powerful quote or telling a story that relates to the overarching theme of your talk. At the end of your speech, it’s vital that you finish strong. Your last words need to land correctly so that they linger in your audience’s mind long after you have finished your presentation.
The opening and closing of your speech will largely influence what your audience takes away from the middle. Nail them both cold, and you’re one step closer to mastering the art of public speaking.
Belief is Contagious
No matter your topic, you have to believe in what you’re saying before your audience will buy into your argument. When you truly believe in what you’re saying, you naturally speak with determination and conviction. The audience can feel this and when you become convinced they become convinced. You don’t stand a chance of effectively persuading an audience if you don’t believe in your own message.
To deliver a powerful message, take the time to review your content and mark out the parts that you feel most passionate about. During the actual presentation, make these your punchlines and deliver them with conviction.
Make Eye Contact with Your Audience
Recognizing the audience during your speech may be one of the most difficult aspects of becoming a premiere public speaker. This goes against the common conventions of focusing on the back of the room or pretending that no one is actually in the darkened audience. However, making eye contact becomes a very potent tool when trying to make an impression and a connection with your audience. The better connected you’re to the people that you’re addressing, the more comfortable you will be throughout the presentation, which is the very essence of developing a strong and powerful presentation.
However, don’t make the mistake of focusing on just one or two different people. Not only will that potentially make them feel uncomfortable, it also undermines your connection with the audience as a whole. Instead, connect with one person until you finish delivering the sentence before moving on to the next audience member. Doing this will help ensure that you work the room and every member of the audience will feel like you’re speaking to them personally.
Speak Slowly and Always Enunciate
Projecting your voice is one of the most important qualities when presenting. Everyone has to hear what you’re saying if you hope to make a connection. When the audience has trouble understanding you, they tend to lose interest and will soon begin to tune you out. Speak slowly and clearly. This will help ensure that your message is heard throughout the room.
Unless speaking to an incredibly hostile crowd, know that the audience will always be rooting for the speaker. They will hang on to your every word as long as you connect with them, entertain them, and convince them that what you’re saying is worth hearing.