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Speaking in Public – No More Butterflies (a continuation)

Shure Microphone

I like public speaking.  It allows me the chance to speak my mind about how I feel on a certain topic.  It also is one of the largest education initiatives you will ever take.  Want to challenge yourself?  Volunteer to speak on something you know little on.  Do it.  Feel the fear of taking on the challenge.  Your heart races.  Your body shakes.  The brow sweats a bit.  And your deodorant fails in all the places it shouldn’t…  Sound familiar?  So, let’s talk about some more public speaking hints for a successful outcome.

A major piece within marketing is speaking in front of others – sharing your ideas and selling your ideas.  One of the most hit posts of mine was on Zapping the Butterflies when Speaking in Public.  Going back to that topic, I want to re-emphasize the importance of preparing for your presentation.  And for me, whether it is something I know about or don’t – preparation is always the friend I turn to.  Whenever you speak, use these tips:

 Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them and then tell them what you told them.  Everyone appreciates a speaker who can deliver the goods and then wrap it all up into a neat package.  Start your presentation with humor and then give them the outline of the talk.

 Within the framework of #1, fill in the gaps with an outline of the central message.  Are you trying to inform them, persuade them or simply give a narrative?  Start with your thesis and then develop points toward that end.

 Know your audience.  There’s no faster way to lose your audience than not understanding them so that they can understand you.  Don’t talk above or below their level.  Talk TO them.  Engage them.  After your initial welcome and humor, thank everyone for coming and ask them why they came.  You’ll learn volumes and can incorporate their needs into your talk.  A solid presenter does so and keeps the audience engaged – because you took the time to get to know them.

 Nod your head and smile.  A confident speaker knows their subject, is happy presenting it and nods their head to gain an answer to a rhetorical question.  There’s no better way to ensure at least a few are listening when they shake yes or on!  And that smile you give your audience just made a few members friends of yours because it felt like you were looking directly at them.

 Last, but not least – make fun of yourself.  Nervous speakers make nervous audiences.  If you slip up, recover by repeating what you just said and make fun of it.  Knowing you will do this allows your mind to re-think what you meant to say and also keeps the audience engaged with an injection of humor.  In fact, incorporate it back into your summary at the end for another laugh. 

Try these tips when you are called upon to speak.  Use your time to prepare wisely and make those butterflies disappear altogether.


2 Responses

  1. Good points!

    Public speaking is not about the speaker, it’s about what the speaker will do for the audience. When the speaker concentrates on the message, they will take the pressure off of themselves.


  2. Another great way is to speak to only one person in the audience. So instead of asking, “how many of you want a new car?’ you would ask, “Do you wnat a new car?” this helps to build the bond with your audience.


    Darren Fleming
    Australia’s Public Speaking Coach

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