Account Manager Sam Gardner looks at how to ensure you’re a great public speaker
Does speaking in public send a jolt of fear through you? If so, you are not alone. The most popular subject we are asked to cover when it comes to coaching and mentoring aspiring leaders is ‘how to’ stand up in front of people and deliver an eloquent and engaging speech or presentation.
I therefore recently attended a seminar on ‘How to write and present a great speech given by Darren LaCroix, who, since winning the ‘World Champion on Public Speaking’ in 2001 has travelled the world sharing his expertise. He, like us, maintains that if you put your mind to it, you are capable of anything. He goes on to challenge traditional methods of presenting by focusing on simple techniques which, when put into practice, ensure that you give yourself the best possible chance of delivering with confidence and charisma.
Darren was asked ‘How do you prepare just before a you get up there?’These are his tips:
- Am I present? Just being there is a good start! There’s only so much preparation you can do when sooner or later you just have to hold your hands up and tell yourself that you’ve done all you can to prepare and the final step to take is to believe in yourself – this sounds really straightforward, but when put in the context of everything else is completely relevant: ‘Don’t be perfect, be present!’
- What is my intent? It’s really important to think about how you want your audience to think, feel and react. A good way of clarifying your intent is to ask yourself ‘What do I want the audience to remember in three days’ time?’ Another key aspect to focus on here are the key components of a speech: Material (stories, examples), Delivery (manner) and Structure (order, framework). Getting these right will ensure you make your point in a succinct way and present it in an assertive way
- Will I have fun? It’s easy to get caught up with nerves and the apprehension of speaking, so it’s incredibly important to sit back and relish the opportunity of being able to stand up and make an impression on people. Listen to music prior to presenting to help you relax and think about ‘the bigger picture’
- How would I give this presentation if I knew it was my last? Quite a sobering thought but nonetheless a good question to ask. Put all your energy into the speech and block out anything else that might be going on in your life to help you focus
Whilst it’s easy to get caught up in the ‘nuts and bolts’ of presenting, asking the above questions can help you ensure you put things into context and remind yourself of why you’re there presenting in the first place – and remember – your final words leave a lasting impression…
Do you speak in public? If so what questions do you ask yourself just before you begin? Are nerves inevitable and do you have any tips