Let’s face it. Speaking in front of an audience with confidence doesn’t come naturally to everyone. But worry not; public speaking is a skill you can master. The following 5 public speaking tips will help you utilize your voice, language and gestures as powerful tools when speaking in front of an audience. Clear your throat, sit up straight and let’s dig in!

1. Know your audience

Spending the right amount of time to prepare is the key to delivering a great speech. Knowing what you’re going to speak about helps you to feel comfortable. Make sure to read up on your topic and talk to people that are already familiar with the topic. Rehearse your speech shortly before delivering it so that everything is fresh. Study your audience. What are their job titles? What are the questions they will/might ask?

Prepare for those questions. Make sure you know everything about your audience and tailor your presentation accordingly.

2. Be spontaneous

Although rehearsal is important, you should at all times avoid that your speech sounds rehearsed. It’s going to bore your audience and make them reach for their smartphones.

Reading from a card or learning sentences by heart will kill the spontaneity of your presentation. Rather use a clear overview with bullet points. Structure is everything. Make sure to start with a clear intro, work towards a climax and close with a proper conclusion. It’s good practice to repeat important parts and to summarize when needed. It will truly help to empower your message.

Presentation software like PowerPoint can be of great assistance in supporting your speech. Be aware though to not overdo it. Are you familiar with KISS? Keep It Simple Stupid! Lose the special effects and avoid too bright colours.

3. Avoid doubt in your language

Practice, practice, practice! Alone in front of a mirror, but even better is in front of a small group of people. Make sure to speak the words out loud. You’ll notice that some things sound different compared to how it sounded in your head. Written language is very different from spoken language. Try different wording or use a syntax that sounds better.

While exercising with a test audience, always ask for feedback. They may help you identify common pitfalls. Avoid language that expresses any kind of doubt such as, maybe, perhaps, actually, somewhat or potentially. Tend to use stop words? Write them down and focus on filtering them out of your speaking. They might be annoying to your audience.

4. Let your body speak

Verbal and nonverbal communications go hand in hand during your presentation. Finding an activity for your hands is a great start for getting the nonverbal part under control. Position them on top of something or hold a stack of papers.

Try to also keep the rest of your body language under control. Shaking or nodding your head, flexing your shoulders, raising your eyebrows…they all distract from the verbal part of your presentation. Practice is once again the magic word here; keep practicing to eliminate undesirable body language.

5. Don’t forget to smile

Presenting with a smile simply makes you radiate in positivity. A friendly smile works calming to both the presenter and the audience. Make sure of course that your smile is appropriate to the content. Red numbers should obviously not be presented with a smile from ear to ear.

Are jokes allowed? Sure, but only if they’re funny. Besides that it’s good practice to test your joke with others first and to make sure there’s a link with the topic in your presentation.

Smiles and jokes show enthusiasm and passion for your topic. You’ll discover it works contagiously!

Now do it!

By now I’m sure you catch the drift. Preparation is everything. Some people think that finishing the text and selecting a few slides is enough preparation. Actually, that’s only where it starts. The next step is to personalize your presentation. Practicing aloud is an absolute must here.

Make sure to use these tips while preparing for your next presentation and you’ll see immediate results!

Public Speaking Workshop

If becoming a great and inspirational speaker is your aspiration, you are going to love our High Impact Speaking workshop, led by award-winning international speaker Olivia Schofield. During this highly interactive workshop you will learn to master important skills that will raise your influence and efficiency within your work and personal life. On top of that, you will walk away with exciting new inspirations!