Apart from their strong vision and exceptional business engineering, there is something else that binds together entrepreneurial giants like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates – the simple fact that these people weren’t afraid to wield the mike.
At any workplace, communicating with your team members, your investors and customers is something you have got to do on daily basis. Be it product presentations, business meetings or business presentations, public speaking skills are a minimum pre-requisite to ensure that you get heard. Your management degrees and technical soft skills might be boosting your career, but the sad truth is that public speaking is a much more important business skill.
A good public speaker has the ability to influence decisions and motivate change and that is exactly what is expected from people who hold top positions at their work. But, is the lack of a real background or experience in public speaking dragging you down? It is never late too late to start with it and here are some useful tips to improve your public speaking at work.
1) Know your Speech
The first and foremost thing is that you should be thorough with the topic you are going to speak on. Confidence is the key to a solid public speech. And, unless you are clear and accurate with the topic at hand, it is hard for you to have that level of confidence. You should be crystal clear with your prepared content. Have all the significant points outlined and figure out a logical flow to present them.
2) Rehearse your Speech or Presentation
You get no prizes for guessing that public speaking is a skill. And, any skill set needs some good practice from your part to perfect it! The impact of your business presentation depends on how you deliver it. Good speech delivery is something that needs a lot of practice to master. Make sure that you speak slowly and clearly. You have to time and adjust your pacing until the words are all clear with the right impact. It is always a good idea to get some test audience to try out your speech. Ensure that you keep your body language under control and that you keep good eye contact with your audience.
3) Research your Topic
It isn’t enough to memorize your speech or business presentation content. You have got to have an in-depth understanding of the topic you are going to present. Make sure that you cross-check the facts and figures in your speech for their genuineness. Anticipate all the questions you might be asked and prepare all the answers in advance. This avoids any hiccups that might occur when the audience poses a question to you.
4) Use Humor, Tell Stories
Grabbing the attention of your audience isn’t an easy task. This is something even the most experienced speakers still struggle with. Using humor and other funny stories in your speech helps attract the attention of your audience. It helps to thrown in some examples, stories and anecdotes in between your presentation.
5) Take help from Technology
So, you have grabbed their attention! Good. But, it is hard to maintain it if your speech is raw. Make use of audio-visual aids and devices to keep your audience hooked. A PowerPoint presentation does more good than a flowery speech. Use infographics, pictures, charts and videos to convey your point. If you are not really tech savvy and your designs skills are low, try to use powerpoint themes to help you with the task.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab that mic and speak your heart out! Take up every opportunity you get to nurture your public speaking skills. Win the crowd, motivate them and influence their decisions.
Be a speaker, be a winner!