Written by: Shaun Orme, AAE of Cornerstone Pie
We all will encounter a time where we will have to public speak in our life. Whether that is in our career, a school presentation, or a toast at your best friends wedding; public speaking is inevitable.
Public speaking can be terrifying! Palms sweaty, voice quivering, maybe you can’t even find the words to come out. We have all been there. Well you’re not alone, three out of four people suffer from glossophobia (the fear of public speaking). As people in the PR and marketing field we are supposed to be masters of public speaking. It’s a huge part of our industry. Yes we will be more successful in our career once we have crafted this skill, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t all human and could use some tips on how to be better public speakers.
Dress for your audience
There is a difference between dressing professional and dressing appropriately for your audience. In todays world a suit isn’t the standard for being on top of your game. For example, if you are speaking to a group of college kids over dressing will make you look not relateable to your audience and you may lose credibility. Make sure you know whom you are speaking to so you can get on your audiences level.
Be prepared and practice
Nothing is more obvious than someone who is not prepared. Know who your audience is going to be before you write your speech. Everyone who has to sit through a lengthy presentation subconsciously has the what’s in it for me filter on. Be engaged with them and lay out an agenda for your audience. Let them know what they are going to be telling them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.
Practice, practice, practice; it really makes perfect! The more you’re confident with your content the easier it will flow out when you’re in front of an audience. Record yourself or practice in front of the mirror. The more you do so the faster you will get rid of the ums and ahs which will make you sound more professional.
I don’t know who came up with “imagine everyone in their underwear,” but I’ve never heard of anyone saying that it works. Be confident. If your audience sees that you are confident about your content then they will see you as a more credible speaker. Smile at your audience! That will put them at ease as well as yourself. Also, be conversational with your audience, remember you are talking to human beings just like yourself; you really are just having on big conversation.
If all else fails have great content. People aren’t going to walk away and remember what you wore or if your stumbled over your words a few times, they are going to hopefully remember the take away message, and if they did then you succeeded. The whole objective of your speech is to get information out to your audience and executing it in a timely matter. Make sure your content is well organized and is delivered in order that will stick with your audience after they leave.
Public speaking is not something that is mastered over night, if ever. But it is a bridge that all of us will have to cross at one point in our lives. The more experiences you have public speaking the easier it will come. As long as you are prepare your message with strong content, practice often, and make sure you DON’T imagine everyone in their underwear you are on the right track to becoming a more confident public speaker.