Tips for Becoming a More Effective Speaker
Most people have had to give a presentation during some point in their lives. Whether at a meeting of five people or before a group of hundreds, speaking in front of a crowd can be daunting. The next time you need to give speech or presentation, you can use these tips to get your message across and leave a good impression with your audience.
Benjamin Franklin once said that by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Preparation is essential to delivering a great speech or presentation. Familiarize yourself with your topic, write out your main points and take note cards outlining topic points with you in case you lose your train of thought. A smooth presentation requires being familiar with your material as well as the environment you're presenting in. Visit the place you will speak at in advance to set up visual aids, practice using the microphone and become comfortable with your surroundings. By doing so, you reduce the risk of running into technical difficulties. Memorize your speech so you don't have to constantly refer to your notes. Distractions can veer you off course and make your audience's attention wane.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Captivating the audience with your presentation isn't something that you can achieve without practice and hard work. Rehearsing your speech will help you become more comfortable with your material and decrease your nervousness. Practice in front of friends and family to become more comfortable speaking in front of an audience. To identify bad habits, you might also consider using a tape recorder or camcorder when practicing, especially if you plan to speak before a large crowd. Practicing will allow you to find your weak points so you can tweak them.
Focus on Delivery
Keep your body language in mind when giving your speech. Too many hand gestures and excessively moving around will distract your audience, while not enough movement will bore them. Maintain sincere eye contact, so you connect with your audience and leave them with a positive impression. Add pauses to your speech to give you time to look at the audience and catch your breath. Pauses also give the audience time to reflect and think. Even with preparation and practice, you still might become a little nervous when it's time to speak. The feeling is completely normal, but don't apologize for your nervousness. This might bring your audience's attention to something they might not have noticed.
With preparation and practice, you can increase the chances of delivering your message effectively. During your speech, maintaining eye contact and displaying enthusiastic body language will hold your audience's attention. Keep these tips in mind, and your next presentation will surely win over your crowd.