Speaking in public is a very useful skill for any manager and in also in life.
In the workplace this will include speaking in team meetings, making a sales pitch to a new client or presenting information in a board meeting.
Outside work may include wedding speeches both male and female or talking at a community event. In this article we share some of the top tips for improving your abilities in this important skill.
It is quite natural to feel anxious about speaking in public. In fact you share this fear with the majority of the population for whom public speaking is their worst fear.
That’s the bad news, the good news is that feeling anxious is a good thing and can be used to your advantage.
When you are anxious and nervous you typically have increased blood flow and a heightened sense of awareness.
This will help keep your energy up during a presentation.
Know Your Audience
All the best speakers will tell you that this is probably the most important element of public speaking.
You will need to think about your audiences’ needs and concerns. They will want to know how your information will benefit them directly, in other words they will be thinking ‘What’s in it for me?’
When we join a conversation we think about what we would like to say and what we had better not say.
Certain things are best left unsaid especially when we know it can cause conflict.
The same is true of public speaking.
Narrow Your Topic
There are always a great number of things to discuss when you have a group of people gathered together.
The challenge here, particularly in a team meeting is that there is only so much time and attention your audience is willing to give.
Ideally restrict yourself to just 3 main points, your team will thank you for this and will be more willing to listen at the next meeting.
Many people have had the meeting from hell that lasted 2hours or more! Keeping a team meeting to 15 – 30 minutes is ideal.
Support Your Presentation
One of the best ways to keep your audience engaged is to include ‘props’ to support your presentation.
These props can include a variety of items or activities. If you are teaching something to your team or showing them a new piece of software you might want to include a demonstration.
Others may include facts, statistics, or exhibits such as a picture, drawing or even an item of equipment.
Practice, Practice, Practice
We all know that practice makes perfect.
In public speaking it not only makes perfect it improves confidence the more you do it.
If you can practice in the place where you will be making your presentation then it will help when you come to deliver it live. Being able to speak in public is a valuable skill as a manager and also in life.
You may want to start on a small scale like talking in front of a small group of colleagues before progressing to making a formal presentation to other managers or customers.
There are also organisations like Toastmasters International where you learn to make different type of speeches involving things like emotion or facts etc.
If your organisation would like to train a group of people to speak in public then contact MTD for details of our in-house public speaking and presentation skills courses.
Head of Training
Originally published: 5 August, 2013
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