Public speaking is something a lot of us fear, and as we found out at the public workshop we recently attended, it is a skill that can be honed. We share our key takeaways from Eximo Marketing’s Public Speaking Workshop to ensure your next speaking engagement runs smoothly…notepads at the ready…
When putting together a talk or presentation, there are various ways to structure it and this can depend on the content, the setting and who you are presenting to. Essentially you want to take the audience on a journey with you and tell a story. There are various ways of doing this:
1). The Hero’s Story – think X Factor – this consists of an introduction, emotional pull (in the instance of X Factor, the contestant’s story) which builds momentum and draws the audience in. This then leads to the climax, their performance, by which time you’re so engaged in the story, you’re rooting for them. The audience has been taken on a journey, albeit quite a dramatic one but the essence of this method is what’s important
2). The Story Arc – to summarise, this is when you start building momentum until you reach the crux of your point then you descend. You can repeat multiple times throughout a talk.
3). S.T.A.R. – this approach stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result… so you describe the situation providing context for the audience, then explain the task you had to complete and the action you took to do this. Then explain the outcome of the action(s) you took – the result!
If you’re including slides in your talk/presentation, there are a few key points to consider:
- Slides should act as visual cues for you, but they shouldn’t be used as a crutch, so know your content
- Simplify! Don’t add lots of unnecessary wording to your slides, it will distract the audience and they’ve come to see you speak, and not to read your slides after all.
- Highlight! Again, this ties in with the last point. Highlight the key points. Don’t overcomplicate your slides. Say what you need to say in the shortest amount of words.
When delivering a talk, it can be easy to race through it so it’s over quickly, but this shows that you’re nervous. When this happens, our voices can also go quite high pitched so remember ‘low and slow.’ If you can master this, it will help ensure that you don’t rush, which in turn will put the audience at ease with your calm delivery. Remember it’s ok to pause and to be deliberate with your speaking,
It’s not just your voice that’s important when public speaking, what you’re doing with your body is also crucial to how successful your delivery is. Move around, don’t stay rigid in the same spot. Tie movement in with how you tell a story for example hand gestures add to what you’re saying but remember not to point at people.
Eye contact is also something to consider. Move your gaze around, make eye contact with people. If you’re presenting to a big audience, look at people at the front then move your gaze around the room, to the back, middle and so forth but try not to focus on one person!
Practice makes perfect
Whilst some people are born natural orators, even the most experienced practice, practice and practice their craft. Practice really does make perfect in this instance, so stand in front of your mirror and go over your presentation so that you are familiar with your content, what you want to say, and it will become second nature soon enough.