At some point in your life you are going to be called upon to speak in front of some kind of audience.
It could be in any capacity, for example; giving a best wo/man speech; or talking about your company’s performance at your annual stockholders meeting.
I personally don’t believe public speaking is as big a fear for people as it once was. However, it can still be nerve racking, but there are a few simple things you can do to alleviate them.
The big question is of course: Is it going to be the kind of speech that leaves people feeling energized and gagging for more? Or will it leave people doing that thing where they have to try and disguise their yawns as a deep breath?
I’ve given hundreds of talks and each time I’ve learned something new to make the next one better. I’ve done some bad ones and some good ones. Luckily my bad ones weren’t terrible and the good ones always got plenty of compliments.
All that I’ve learned is through trial, error, and practice. I’ve also used my experience as a comedian to make what I say more engaging and funny. Use these 7 tips so your next speaking engagement is memorable…in a good way.
1. Relaxing Openers
If you get nervous you’ve got find a way to relax. I still get nervous so my technique is simple. I find a good opener. Something that will break the ice and get people laughing in the first minute. I’ll give you an example.
I was hosting a singles event on Saturday and before I did the icebreakers I gave a quick talk to the attendees. I started with something like: “Welcome and thank for you coming…I’ve only been invited with one purpose…as eye-candy! The organizers thought having a pretty face such as mine will definitely bring the punters in.”
Simple and effective. I felt relaxed and people laughed.
Have a rehearsed anecdote ready. Any story relevant to your event. I was giving a talk to some youngsters recently and I was telling them my experience of how I completely flopped at high school.
It’s a funny story of how I broke the news to my parents. I added a few things in there to spice it up a bit and I also say it in a way that makes it entertaining and relevant to the audience. When I told the story I had them cracking up!
If you do that thing where you hold your breath as you talk and run out of air. Use a pause for effect and use that moment to catch your breath. Use eye contact to hold peoples attention as you segue between sentences.
Jokes are good for any occasion and can be used at any time. If you want to see a good example of this watch Sir Ken Robinson giving his talk on Ted about creativity. He drops in his jokes at random times just to keep the audience engaged. You can do the same!
If you get stuck at any point you can use to this trick to get back on track. Ask the audience if you’re going too fast or if they have any questions so far? You can always repeat it at the end but it’s a great technique in case you’ve veered off track and have lost your chain of thought.
I’ve done similar things whilst doing comedy but instead I started a conversation with a member of the audience. It worked just the same.
As part of your talk you can include an activity and the sky’s the limit with what you can do. Again, so long as it’s relevant in some way to your presentation you can pretty much do anything.
If it’s something fun, your audience will love you even more. In fact the magic is that they do all the work but they’ll credit you at the end for making it fun.
7. Slow Down
I generally talk very fast which is fine but it’s good to remind yourself occasionally to slow down if you’re a fast talker like me. Alternately if you do speak fast then just pause and do a quick summary every now and then before you continue.
Simple and effective tips. If you want to get better at speaking then contact me for one-on-on coaching.