As you’re building and growing your business, and no matter what industry you’re in, chances are you’ll engage in some form of public speaking. Although you’ll find the rare one’s who love it, it’s also the #1 biggest fear among adults (yes, even above sharks). Surely you’ve heard the countless strategies ranging from picturing everyone in their underwear, to looking at someone’s forehead instead of their eyes.
Amidst all the advice out there, these are strategies proven successful when addressing a group of people.
Actions speak louder than words
Your body language makes a big difference. How you first present yourself plays a crucial part on how the audience will receive the information you’re about to present. Stand up straight to show your authority and confidence.
You’re not a statue so don’t act like one – move around!
Whether you walk, use large gestures, moving around will keep your audience eyes on you and keep them engaged continuously. If you have a podium and microphone – don’t stay there and ask about how you can move around.
Grab their attention straight away
Have you ever picked up a new book, started reading and put it down after a few pages despite great reviews? It’s no secret that capturing your audience’s attention early on is one of the fundamental points in public speaking. Engage your audience right at the beginning by introducing your main point or proposition during the first few minutes. This will be your “hook” to grab and keep their attention.
Give your audience an outline
You can simultaneously grab your audience’s attention early on by mentioning all of your talking points for the speech. Giving them your goals in an overview helps them to follow your talk and keeps them engaged through each point.
Know your audience
Just like you need to know who your customer is, it’s equally important to know exactly the type of audience that will be listening to you. This will help you customise your talk for them, and feel more at ease with your talk when you feel like you know them.
Start with a story
Start your speech with a question, story or puzzle. It will help take the audience’s focus off you and into what you’re asking them to place their attention on. You’ll start your speech with ease (maybe even a laugh) and find a common ground with the audience.
Practice makes perfect
Finally, it may sound cliché – but the only way you’ll get better at something is to practice it. End of story. If you can, practice with people who you know, and trust and get their honest feedback. Wherever possible, recreate the setting you’ll be speaking in.