Be a better speaker: presenting and pitching tips
By Anthony Horne
Reading time: 4 minutes
Between nerves, technological meltdowns and stage fright, public speaking can turn the most professional business person into a wet-behind-the-ears intern. Once mastered though, it can be a powerful networking and self-promotional tool.
In this blog post I will touch on some golden tips that will help you blow the minds of your audience or at least keep them interested during your presentation, interview, pitch or talk.
Your story – your opinion
Are you not feeling entertained?” echoed through the auditorium. “Well, no, how can I be when you’re boring me to death?” – maybe it’s not that dramatic but nothing replaces a really great story. Even better a true story, one that your audience can relate to. Tell your audience your story, who you are, what your opinions are and why, interact, and connect with your audience. Make them feel like they’re a part of your story.
Connection – share the highs and the lows
Public speaking is great for self-promotion, but self-promotion shouldn’t be your entire speech. People didn’t pay to hear you blow smoke up your own butt. They came to learn about you and your work. To hear about your life, story or process. Connect with them by telling them about your failures and successes, your mistakes and missed opportunities, the ups and the downs.
The audience is here for a reason – so put them first
Probably the most important tip besides not being boring is to put the audience front and centre. They came here for a reason and will have expectations. You need to deliver on these expectations, whatever they may be. If they came here to learn about social media, they won’t be impressed if by 30 minutes in, you haven’t spoken about any social media platforms yet or seen any examples. Keep that in mind.
Delivery – it’s not what you say but how you say it
Some of the greatest speeches in human history might weren’t written by the people who presented them, but they are remembered because of the way they were delivered. I have a dream – except no one can hear me so no one cares. Don’t let that be the case. Whether you’re speaking to one person in a boardroom or 5 000 at a conference, the power and effectiveness of your words lie in the delivery of them.
Some simple ways to improve your delivery are to:
- take it slow (don’t rush)
- have a conversation (don’t read)
- engage (connect with your audience)
- practice makes perfect (preparation will help you overcome those nerves)
- have a plan B and C (in case something goes wrong)
- be confident in yourself and your abilities
Technology – an investment in professionalism
In a world where technology has improved our lives by leaps and bounds, it is still considered a Hail Mary in public speaking. It will either make or break you, and that’s the wrong outlook to have. The tech is only as good as its user. Written notes are great as a backup, but a well-designed presentation, a video or an interactive portfolio will always trump a page filled with words.
There are so many ways to improve your public speaking, and these suggestions just scratch the service. The only thing standing in your way is yourself and your excuses. You can be the greatest presenter or speaker you want to be, all that’s needed is for you to put in the work to achieve it. Now, go out there and make those connections.