When it is time to climb the corporate ladder, one of the most sought-after skills that will help you on your ascent is the art of public speaking. Be it pitching your ideas in a meeting or motivating the team; speaking effectively is the key to connect with your audience. From Steve Jobs to Indra Nooyi, nearly every leader around the world brings impeccable oratorical skills to the table.
Even though public speaking is a challenging game to perfect, practice can go a long way to help you get things right. As you work towards becoming an effective orator, you will realize that it really is the little things that matter.
Few things are worse than being caught off guard. Knowing your content inside out can be the difference between an evocative presentation and one that falls flat, leaving your audience not only bored but confused as well.
Read up as much as you can on the topic that you’re going to talk about. Focus not only on the content of your speech or presentation but also on rooting it with a strong context. Explore the topic from multiple angles, even if you don’t touch upon those in your actual talk or presentation. This way, not only are you well informed but you are also well equipped to answer any questions that crop up.
Know your audience
What you speak is more about your audience than you, yourself. Your choice of words, body language, level of information and other relevant things will depend on who you are talking to. The way you speak to one group of people may not be as effective for another group. So before you craft your speech, or just set out make an impromptu announcement, make a note of who you are speaking to. Consider, their age, gender as well as the general cultural milieu and keep these factors at the top of your mind before you craft your words. It might be a good idea to think of some apt catchy phrases and one-liners that will attract your audience’s attention.
Use visual aids wisely
An audience that is unengaged is rarely receptive to what you have to say. The best ideas can die a silent death at the hands of a lackluster explanation. Think of a situation where you are having a conversation with your friend and instead of talking to you, your friend is reading out notes from a piece of paper.
Did you lose interest?
Your audience will too, if you rely too heavily on visual aids. Use visual aids like presentations, for the benefit of the audience. Leverage audiovisual content and innovative formats to keep the audience engaged. Do not use visual aids merely as tools to help you remember what to say next.
Package your message right
The way you present your message is more important than what you have in mind. Use a nice and catchy story or incident to open. You need to grab your audience’s attention with the opening line itself. Interact with them from time to time. This will make sure that you avoid any cognitive backlog. Make your presentation feel like a story and not a lecture to your audience. You can add some relevant anecdotes to establish a firm connection with your audience, and make sure you build on this connection at multiple points during your talk.
Remember that the more often you speak, the better you will be able to ace the art of public speaking. You may not be able to shake off those nerves at once, but you will surely learn how to minimize them with time and by having command & expertise over the area you are speaking about.
We, at Pearson Professional, offer career programs and other certificate programs around new-age skills from leading international universities to prepare you for the challenges that you would face in real life, make you a better leader and help you gain an edge over others to stay ahead in your career.