• matt@5to1solutions.co.uk

5 ways to improve public speaking

Public speaking is not easy. It comes naturally to a lucky few (well jel'). Even then, public speaking is a skill that must be practised and refined. The attention of your audience is now shorter than ever. You're only a phone buzz in a bag or pocket away from losing them. The ability to captivate and compel your audience has nothing to do with your quirky PowerPoint but has everything to do with your ability to win trust, show confidence in your content and deliver your objectives in the clearest and most practical way possible.

5. Talky Walky

It sounds simple, but it works - as part of your preparation you need fresh air to clear the mind, focus your attention and sharpen your senses. You know what you're going to say, you know your audience and you've practised delivery for hours. But taking a walk - I mean a real walk, outside - and talking through your presentation as you go is the key. Practise breathing, timing and clarity. The desk is one of the most unproductive places to practise public speaking - so get out and talk while you walk.

4. Cut your speech by half - then half again

Yikes! This is tricky but it's a sure way of getting to the point. At a copywriting course I attended, every piece of copy we submitted in advance, we were then tasked with cutting it - then cutting it again. It was so difficult at first, but eventually turned in to an amazing way of really getting to the crux of what you wanted to say - without the waffle. Thinking in 'Twitter posts of 140 characters' was how it was phrased. Works for me.

3. Work the room

Now this depends on the space you have, the delivery style required and the purpose of your speech. However, I have found that even in the most demanding of environments, one of the best ways to keep the audience on side when public speaking is to move around the room. I mean in a controlled, practised and purposeful way, not a David Brent 'model pose' on the table kind of way.

2. Reconnaissance

If you can, visit the venue well in advance so you know what you're working with. Find out who's talking before and after you if possible. Not only can you build in links to those speaking either side of you, but you can also avoid repeating anything that has already been said. Know your audience. Who's going to be there and what can they take away from your speech?

1. You're a STAR

Think about your outcomes. What do you want to achieve by your public speaking moment? What value are you offering to the audience? If you're promoting a specific event, educating people about your cause or service, or even talking in a school assembly, then define no more than one or two points you want your audience to take away. Own those points and be consistent about how you present them. Define them from the outset, throughout and at the end with the following public speaking STAR steps:

SITUATION, Set the scene, tell the story, who are the main characters?

TASK, What is the task in hand, what are your objectives?

ACTIVITY, What needs to be done, how long will it take, what resources for the activity are needed and how can your audience participate?

RESULT, What are the outcomes and what will the result look like?

Whether it's for an event, fundraiser or pitch, email Matt at 5to1solutions about maximising your opportunities when Public Speaking.

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