For a lot of people, public speaking is the most anxiety-provoking activity out there. And we get it: it’s intimidating to stand in front of an audience, attempt to forget your nerves and try to deliver a powerful message that inspires, compels, and motivates. But there are a number of simple tips and techniques you can take use that’ll help you squash your nerves and deliver an empowering message with confidence and authority.
1. Know Your Audience
Different audiences require different tones, voices, and approaches to make a connection, so be sure you know yours. Researching the audience’s age demographic, paying mind to their interests, and considering their expectations around what they hope to learn from your presentation will take you far in terms of making an audience connection.
2. Be Okay With Being Nervous
Trying to resist the fact that you’re nervous is a fast track to increasing your anxiety. Instead, accept it as part of the journey and use it to fuel your energy levels. And in some instances, telling the audience upfront that you’re nervous can break the tension and make you feel more at ease all the while making you more relatable to your audience.
3. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse
Simply put, it’s not enough to know what you’re going to say; you must know how you’re going to say it. Rather than spend all of your time memorizing your content, spend at least half of it rehearsing your delivery. Pay mind to your tone, inflections, and where you should pause for emphasis and to solicit audience questions.
4. Pay Attention to Your Audience
A lot of presenters make the mistake of paying too much attention to the content they’re delivering and not enough to how the audience is receiving it. But if you want to make a connection, then you need to be aware of your audience’s reactions and expressions so you can tailor your delivery accordingly. Think of your audience like your partner in the presentation dance—work with them, not at them.
5. Say as Little as Possible
If you remember nothing else, remember this: You want to say as little about your topic as possible to get your message across. Audiences have short attention spans, so save the fluff and pleasantries for small talk. The more concise and straight-to-the-point your presentation is, the better it’ll be.
6. Pause for Questions
No one likes to be talked at for an extended period of time. Taking time to pause for questions throughout your talk will give your audience a break from the monotony while making them feel like they’re participants in the presentation rather than merely witnesses to it.
7. Focus on the Value You’re Bringing
Don’t just talk about why your topic is exciting; talk about why it’s exciting for your audience. In other words, focus on the benefits your audience will receive from the information you’re giving them and how they can apply it to their own lives. This not only makes ideas less abstract, but it’ll work wonders to motivate and compel action from your audience.
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