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A skill that I believe to be very important is the ability to speak publicly, ranging from saying your thoughts in a small meeting to a big presentation to hundreds of people.

Some people are lucky are find this a fairly easy thing to do, but for most of us it can be quite a stressful but with practice everyone can become a good public speaker.

To be come better at public speaking there are a number of things you can do, My top 5 suggestions would be:

  • Know what your material - make sure you have a full understanding of your subject matter, that way the presentation feels more like a conversation, and questions wont throw you off.

  • Practice - at home, in front of a mirror just give your presentation over and over again until your conftable and know what your saying. Get a friend to watch and evaluate if you can

  • Study - watch other presentations (Dragons Den online is a good place to do this) and evaluate them see if they move around the room, use there hands.

  • Know your area - if passable go to where you are going to present and do a test run make sure all the technology works and that your voice can be heard at the back of the room.

  • Lead your power points! - if you are using a power point presentation, make sure you are not just reading off the slides! Power points are meant to be for visual use to keep people visually stimulated so have as few words as passable, never more than bullet points and use lots of pictures.

There are lots of online sources with more hints this list in particular I thought was quite good, taken from the linked website where there is much more information about public speaking.

Hints and Tips for Effective Public Speaking

Here are just a few hints, public speaking tips and techniques to help you develop your skills and become far more effective as a public speaker.

Mistakes

Mistakes are all right.
Recovering from mistakes makes you appear more human.
Good recovery puts your audience at ease - they identify with you more.

Humour

Tell jokes if you're good at telling jokes.
If you aren't good, best to leave the jokes behind.
There's nothing worse than a punch line that has no punch.
Gentle humour is good in place of jokes.
Self-deprecation is good, but try not to lay it on too thick.

Tell stories

Stories make you a real person not just a deliverer of information.
Use personal experiences to bring your material to life.
No matter how dry your material is, you can always find a way to humanise it.

How to use the public speaking environment

Try not to get stuck in one place.
Use all the space that's available to you.
Move around.
One way to do this is to leave your notes in one place and move to another.
If your space is confined (say a meeting room or even presenting at a table) use stronger body language to convey your message.

Technology

Speak to your audience not your slides.
Your slides are there to support you not the other way around.
Ideally, slides should be graphics and not words (people read faster than they hear and will be impatient for you to get to the next point).
If all the technology on offer fails, it's still you they've come to hear

I Hope that some of this helped :)

Views: 74

Comment by John Tsangaris on March 10, 2010 at 7:44pm
That's awesome! Thanks for the info!
Comment by Nick Heyming on March 10, 2010 at 7:44pm
A huge one is to limit your "like", "um", "y'know", and other filler words. Practice just pausing instead of filling the gap with an awkward phrase. You'll come across as much more thoughtful, and impress the people speaking to alot more. It can be hard, but its completely worth it!
Comment by Patricio Buenrostro-Gilhuys on March 10, 2010 at 7:47pm
Thanks Hannah. This is one skill that I really need to improve.
Comment by John Evans on March 10, 2010 at 7:48pm
I think the point about mistakes is an important one. People who have fears of public speaking will sometimes obsess about mistakes, especially after they give a speech; they go over and over the mistakes in their head, convincing themselves that they screwed up and everyone hates them. But the truth is that the listeners won't care if there are a few mistakes, as long as the speaker is engaging and able to get across the information.

I remember reading about a man who had to give presentations to his coworkers on a regular basis, as part of his job; since he was having trouble with that, he went to see a psychologist. As part of his treatment plan, he deliberately made some mistakes during his talks, and then he carefully watched how the audience reacted. This led him to realize that people really were understanding and wouldn't care if he made a few mistakes along the way.
Comment by Ssozi Javie on March 10, 2010 at 7:54pm
Thanks for the TIPS ON PRESENTATION SKILLS... some of these are small mistakes we often make when presenting.
To us, they are minor but they can easily drive all the attention of your audience AWAY FROM YOU! Thats how bad it can get.
Comment by David Richards on March 10, 2010 at 8:21pm
Very nicely put. Very Helpful!
Comment by John D. Boyden on March 10, 2010 at 8:49pm
Excellnt Hannah! Great advice. Excellent writing, as usual :) +1 knowledge share
Comment by Martin Dyer on March 10, 2010 at 8:56pm
Excellent advice thnx! Very well explained and of course very useful :)
Comment by Laura Dawson on March 10, 2010 at 9:01pm
Hannah, Very resourceful and concise.This short and direct educational piece is clear and easy to understand. As a public speaking professional, I have found each of these items to be helpful. The one about the slides begin graphic as opposed to textual is understandable. Otherwise the audience is busy reading the slide not watching and listening to you, the Speaker. Be In Good Health.
Comment by Mario on March 10, 2010 at 11:40pm
One thing that someone teach me about public speaking is to tape yourself speaking, giving a conferece, anything. This way you can watch your flaws and work on them. Also don't forget that if you are in front of an audience, you already have half the attention that you need.

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