Monday, 25 June 2012

Do you need to make a great speech?

If you need to make a great speech or give a great presentation  and are feeling shy or rather low in confidence then this blog is for you.

In business you will be called on regularly to speak in public for example to pitch to a new client, at a networking event or at the very least to present to your team.

In life you will be called upon to give a toast, a best man/woman's speech or to a group/team in your extra-curricular activities.

One of the most feared experiences is speaking in front of others and you may avoid these opportunities at all costs.

You may have had bad experiences in the past and always see yourself in the future shaking/going red/forgetting your words etc.

I personally used to hate it and at work would colour up in giving presentations to would-be clients as well as forget my words.

I had some coaching for this and was given a number of tips which I still use to this day and will share with you here.

Firstly, nerves are normal and good to get you to go, act and deliver.

You need to replace the negative forecasting such as forgetting what you are going to say, that you are not good enough and that everyone out there is smarter and better than you.

Think about what value you can give to your audience, what fun and what fun you can have doing it.

In essence focus on your audience rather than introspecting about you.

Tell yourself that you are there to give your audience the gift of your experience, knowledge and expertise.

Your audience want you to succeed.

Like anything the key to success is repetition. The more experience you get the easier it gets.

I always take some deep breaths as well prior to a big presentation which is calming.

There are some practical things too such as smiling, starting on time, dressing smartly, being yourself and finishing on time.

Preparing and practising are a must, as are silences to allow yourself and your audience time to think. Have a beginning, middle and end with a clear flow and a small number of key messages/stories to aid memory recall.

Making eye contact and using stories to make a point brings the subject to life, engages and builds rapport.

Keep your energy up and vary your tone.

Above all avoid tech talk which is boring and add humour without being a joke.

Let me know how you get on and if you want to invest some time honing your skills in this area it will pay dividends. Get in touch via

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