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The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience
From Lifehack - March 26, 2018

According to experts, public speaking is one of the most important and beneficial skill sets for your career. It helps to increase confidence and shapes the perception of others about you when you deliver a presentation.

Despite these benefits, however, many seem to fear public speaking. According to experts, roughly 80% of people get increasingly nervous and lose sleep before a big public speaking moment. Some experts even suggest that the fear of public speaking rivals death. Yet, most people will be put in a situation where they will be expected to speak in front of a crowd and these moments can sometimes be career-defining.

If you have been tirelessly trying to get the butterflies in your stomach to fly in formation when youre thrust to speak to an audience, youre not alone. Heres an easy to follow step-by-step guide (with all the public speaking tips you need) on how you can overcome your fear of public speaking and impress your audience even if youre a beginner.

1. Prepare for your presentation

A speakers worst fear is to see that the audience is bored or has gotten no value from the speech. This is why thoroughly preparing for your presentation is vital.

Here are a few easy steps to prepare and research for your presentation:

Identify the context of the event

For example, if youre speaking at an industry conference on AI Technologyyou can be sure that your audience will include practitioners and technicians in that space. Recycling basic content about their industry that theyre already aware of is a definite way to quickly lose their attention.

Instead, its likely youd want to introduce big ideas that challenge what they already know about the industry currently and where its moving towards.

When Steve Jobs famously unveiled the iPhone in the 2007 Worldwide Developers Conference, he was tackling an existing industry norm of buttons on cell phones. Needless to say, his gamble paid off and set the foundation of the smart phones we now know today:

That said, Steves presentation style might not be for everyone, its up to you as a presenter to decide how best to deliver your speech when the time comes.1

Know the demographics of the audience

It is important to know the demographics of your audience as it determines how you can make your tone suitable and content relatable to them.

If youre speaking to audiences from a particular generation, consider including examples that will resonate with them. For example: when speaking to millennials, try referencing recent news on developments in technologies they use every day (e.g. SnapChat or Netflix) to be more relevant to them.

Organizing your content

You can have the best ideas. But if they arent sequenced in the right order, youre basically back to square one.

Most experts agree that various presentations follow different story arcs where they usually fall within three big acts: the Start(or Hook),Middle and Conclusion.2

These structures can exist in all sorts of ways such as a Problem, Solution, Call-To-Action type framework for sales. We see this mirrored by numerous presenters where they establish a cause for concern upfront before addressing these concerns with a product or method.

After youve decided ideas youd like to flesh out, begin organizing them in an order that will keep the audience hinged on your every word. In this video, Aimee Mulins tells a story about adversity followed by resolution later on in life:

2. Develop a presentation that will captivate your audience

Picking a good topic and conquering your stage fright is half the battle won in public speaking. Putting it all together in a presentation that flows well and engages your audience is what differentiates a blockbuster speech versus a lacklustre talk.

Start strong

Its been said that the first 30 seconds of your presentation determines whether the audience want to listen to you or not.3

Here are some proven ways to grab the attention of your audience:

Use storytelling techniques

Presentations are hardly ever a one-way dialogue. Youll want to take measures to engage the audience and make the presentation a conversation.

Try to pose provocative questions or use props. Asking questions to the floor engages your audience presentation and also demonstrates that you value their opinion on things. In some cases, getting your audiences to visualize problems might be more effectively demonstrated than theorized.

Bill Gates is an iconic example of how using props can really drive a message through when he released a swarm of mosquitos during his speech to communicate how people from countries with a high level of malaria infection feel:

Use visual aids effectively

Visual aids such as presentation slides are an opportunity to enhance and drive your message home with 43% added recall for presentations according to Prezi.

Sometimes putting all the information on a slide may steal the audiences attention away. To prevent that, you can make use of evocative images that supports your speech to either transport audience members into a particular scene or to draw analogies for relevant messaging.

3. Overcome your nerves and stage fright

Picture this: moments before your speech, your hearts pounding profusely in anticipation for whats coming next. You step behind the podium and all eyes are on you. The pressure becomes overwhelming and you freeze, unable to utter a single word.

Its been long known that public speaking outranks even death as the top fear of most individuals. This then leads to the questionhow do the pros make it look easy?

Embrace your anxiety

The truth is everyone gets nervous, even seasoned speakers. As Mark Twain put it nicely:

There are two types of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.

Be conversational and authentic

Mouth your words when rehearsing

4. Deliver an impressive speech

Hand gestures

Body language

Tone of voice

Pause and emphasis

Time management

Summing it up

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