Believe it or not, there’s more to speaking at an event than simply turning up to the venue and walking out on stage. Just because the best speakers make their presentations seem effortless, it doesn’t mean they are! A lot of work goes into honing a speaker’s persona, as well as the individual details of each presentation.
While it’ll take more than a single article to make you into a master of public speaking, the pointers that we have collected below should put you on the right track!
Follow the plan, don’t waffle
This may seem like obvious advice; but many people have stood in front of a crowd, confident in their ability to easily discuss a subject with ease, only to find themselves flubbing it, or going into far more detail than is necessary. In some cases, frequent digressions can also ruin an otherwise excellent speech, irritating the audience, and other speakers whose spots you’ve unwittingly delayed.
The solution here is to make sure that you have a plan in place for what you are going to talk about, when you will raise each point, and for how long you will cover each subject. It’s important to practice the talk a few times, to make sure that the timings work. At the end of the day, you want to be sure that you’re not going to overrun your time slot!
This is another attribute of your talk that will only come through practice and repeated fine tuning. No-one is going to take the advice of someone who doesn’t seem to believe in their own advice/product/views; your belief in the validity and usefulness of the subject that you intend to talk about will be passed onto the audience.
The flipside of this is, if you don’t believe in the usefulness of your particular talk, something needs to be changed. All it might take is approaching the subject from a different angle. Some people do have the gift of being able to invest their full enthusiasm in any subject, regardless of their personal feelings; but for the rest of us, a degree of passion in the discussed subject is required for your purposes, and the interest of the audience, to be best served.
Keep it as simple as possible
Bear in mind that public speaking is not necessarily the best format for taking care of complex issues or concepts; you’re better off condensing particularly dense subjects down into easier to comprehend nuggets of information. If a further grasp of the overall subject is required, you can provide links and suggestions to further support content in the slides of your presentation. Alternatively, you could hand out physical references of alternate or expansive information sources at the end of the presentation proper.
Regardless of how the full breadth of companion information is provided to attendees, the brevity and simplicity of the talk itself is essential. Maintaining the attention and interest of the audience is the most important factor; detail is wasted if no one is listening to it! Introduce concepts, explain their relevance to the audience, tie said information in with the overarching topic of the event, then move on!
Ensure that further interaction is easy to achieve
This tactic ties in strongly with the previous point; in today’s world there’s no excuse for being hard to reach! People who really connect with the message of your talk or event will want to follow up on what they’ve learned, maintain further contact with you, or learn more about the country or organisation that you represent. Whatever the aim, it’s clearly beneficial to encourage this further engagement wherever possible; in many cases such engagement would have been the original reason for your involvement in the first place!
Fortunately, such further engagement is particularly easy to achieve these days; the combination of ubiquitous smartphone ownership, and widespread usage of social and business networking sites mean that professional networks can be grown almost instantly. Simply demonstrate the value of yourself or your parent organisation through your talk, provide the details of an appropriate social network or two, and increase your overall engagement!
This article was written by Tom Chapman, who works on behalf of the Brewery. A premier event and fine dining venue in the heart of London. Every year, it plays host to conferences, weddings, and a wide variety of gatherings – and each event demands great public speaking to be successful. To find out more information about the organisation, and using the venue for your event, visit the website today.