Speakers for Results
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Tips for public speaking

These tips and ideas have been put together after many years experience delivering a wide range of presentations.

Ask yourself...

These questions are to get you thinking and prepared:

Getting the delivery right

Be prepared

The secret is always going to be good preparation of your material. We normally work on a ratio of 5 to 1 as a minimum. That is, to deliver one hour of presentation requires a minimum of five hours of preparation.

Prepare yourself

Prepare your room

Your presentation

Speaking

Questions

Work out if you are prepared to take questions at any time or only at the end. Let your audience know what is expected of them.

Be prepared for different reactions

Some people express their enthusiasm for what you're saying in a very visible way. They may be nodding their head or smiling. Others may appear very quiet and not show any sign of enthusiasm. Don't worry. Audiences vary a lot. Sometimes when people are very quiet they are simply concentrating on you. There can be regional variation in audience reactions. People in London are much more likely to show their feelings than people in Scotland.

The unheard song

Unless you are giving the same presentation over and over again, no one will have ever heard what you are going to say before. So don't worry about making a mistake. If you drop a clanger simply move on. If the audience hasn't noticed then there's no need to apologise.

The hook

Your presentation should have a hook. This will usually be in the title. It's an advertisement for what you are going to do and is to get people's interest. titles that we've used include "How to get stinking rich!" and "Not all bosses are B*******!"

Your introduction

Prepare some notes in advance for whoever is going to introduce you. You can make yourself sound as good as you like since you're not the person that's actually going to be saying it.

The first 20 seconds are critical

All of these may be ways of making a memorable first impression:

Get your audience involved early on

Give them something to think about or get involved with early on. It lets them know that this isn't going to be just another boring old presentation.

Props

Well-handled and appropriate props can be great. Practice using any props in advance.

Stories

Audiences love stories.

Don't get drawn into an argument

If someone's perception is different to your own, simply acknowledge that they are right. Suggest that you talk about the issue afterwards and try to work out a solution for them then.

Timing

Practice your presentation in real time. It is very rude and annoying to run over time. Be prepared to cut your presentation short if you are running out of time. You may do this by having something at the end that is of interest but not essential. That way, no one will be disappointed if you cut off two or three slides from the end.

Invite feedback

Ask the event organisers if they are going to be using some sort of feedback mechanism. If not, then take along your own. Keep it fairly simple. Put it out in advance and ask people to fill it in before they leave.

Follow up

Make sure that you've left your details with people for them to contact you. If you can, create some incentive for them to contact you afterwards.

Is it important to collect details of who has attended?

If so, then organise some sort of prize draw. You could do this based on the feedback forms or maybe on business cards. Give people a reasonable incentive and they'll give you their details

Building a back end

How are you going to follow up your presentation? Here are some ideas.

Have fun!

Enjoy yourself. And don't be afraid to have fun with your audience. But avoid trying to be funny through joke telling unless you're very confident that it will work.

Afterwards

After living on adrenaline during the build up, you may feel quite subdued afterwards. So, just allow yourself some time to relax and think things through.

More help

If you need help with any aspect of your presentation then please do contact us

Getting an audience

If you need help with attracting an audience then please read our "How to get bums on seats" tipsheet.