The P's and Q's of Public Speaking - 10 Steps to a successful presentation
by Alan Fairweather
(c) Alan Fairweather - All Rights reserved http://www.howtogetmoresales.com/ ==========================================================
Which would you prefer - root canal dental surgery without an anaesthetic or a bit of public speaking? According to people who research these things, most of us would prefer former. Public speaking is still one of our greatest fears and it turns grown men and women into nervous wrecks. The mere thought of it turns our tongue to cotton wool, causes our internal plumbing to act up and our kneecaps to start knocking lumps out of each other. The problem is that Public Speaking catches up with many of us at some time both in our business and personal life. You're asked to do a short talk at Fred's "leaving do". The organisers of your business club want fifteen minutes on why you make "kafuffle" valves. A potential client wants a presentation on why they should give you contract. Of course there's always confident people who think "I'm real good at this, lead me to podium." The only thing is that some of these people could bore your socks off and do more for insomniacs than strongest sleeping pills. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to be sent on a Public Speaking course by your enlightened employer. But more likely, when asked to make a presentation you'll get hold of a book on speaking, start writing speech and lose sleep until event. Well, there's no need for all of this because help is at hand. All you need to remember are your P's and Q's. Let's start with P's
Preparation When you sit down to write what you're going to say, bear in mind who you'll be speaking to. Will they understand what you're talking about; will they understand technical stuff and jargon? If in doubt remember old saying "Keep It Simple Stupid". To quote Aristotle - "Think as wise men do, but speak as common man". Make sure that what you say has a beginning, a middle and an end. Think of some anecdotes that help reinforce your story. People think visually so paint verbal pictures for your audience. And always remember, people want to know what's in it for them - so make sure you tell them!
Place Have a look at venue before event if you can. It's not always possible, however, even if you get there half an hour before, you can check out where you'll be speaking. Stand at point where you will deliver from, imagine where audience will be and check that they can see and hear you. You may even wish to place a glass of water where you'll be able to find it. Personal Preparation Before any speaking event, think about what you are going to wear; when in doubt dress up rather than down. You can always take things off for a more casual look. Men could remove their jacket and their tie. Women could remove items of jewellery. Part of your personal preparation should include some mouth and breathing exercises. Practise saying some tongue twisters to give your speaking muscles a good work out. Take a deep breath and expand your diaphragm. Then breathe out, counting at same time, try and get up to fifty and not pass out. As part of your personal preparation, write your own introduction. Write out exactly what you want someone to say about you, large font, double-spaced and ask person introducing you to read it. Believe me they won't object and will probably be pleased and impressed.
Poise and Posture Whenever you're called to speak, stand up or walk to front quickly and purposefully. Pull yourself up to your full height, stand tall and look like you own place. Before you start to speak, pause, look round your audience and smile. You may even have to wait until applause dies down. Remember, you want audience to like you, so look likeable. Practise this in front of a mirror or your family; I've heard that children make pretty good critics.
Pretend I'm suggesting you pretend you're not nervous because no doubt you will be. Nervousness is vital for speaking in public, it boosts your adrenaline, which makes your mind sharper and gives you energy. It also has slight side effect of making you lighter through loss of body waste materials. The trick is to keep your nerves to yourself. On no account tell your audience your nervous, you'll only scare living daylights out of them if they think you're going to faint. Some of tricks for dealing with nerves are: Get lots of oxygen into your system, run on spot and wave your arms about like a lunatic. It burns off stress chemicals. Speak to members of your audience as they come in or at some time before you stand up. That tricks your brain into thinking you're talking to some friends. Have a glass of water handy for that dry mouth. Stick cotton wool on your kneecaps so people won't hear them knocking. One word of warning - do not drink alcohol. It might give you Dutch courage but your audience will end up thinking you're speaking Dutch.