Top 5 public speaking tips for the New Year.
Tip #1: Be extremely well prepared.
I know that it may sound obvious, but the most important thing any public speaker can do is prepare. It’s tempting to watch a seasoned professional seemingly ad-lib a 20-minute speech, and think that you can emulate them. Trust me; it takes years to become a seasoned impromptu speaker. In fact, anything that seems off the cuff is probably not.
You may be asking yourself, “What about impromptu speech?” After all, there are many times when we are asked to speak in business meetings or social events and we don’t have hours to develop an idea. The advice still holds true. Spend a few seconds determine your main point, and work towards it.
Tip #2: If you are using PowerPoint use as little text as possible.
As a rule of thumb a visual presentation should accent your speech, not guide it. The only exception is if you are showcasing a short sentence or your thesis. Take a look at your most recent power point presentation. If you have a litany of lists or paragraphs, stop and reevaluate the speech. Try to figure out a way to describe the information in a different way. Perhaps tell a story that creates a narrative instead of a list, because every time you display text that you’ve already said you doubt your audiences’ intelligence.
Tip #3: Vary the pace:
We’ve all had the monotone college professor. We’ve also had the fast-paced salesman. There’s one thing they both have in common: They are terrible to listen too. Without a change of pace you don’t give your audience a hint of the dramatic, they know exactly where you are going, and you give them a predictable ride.