10 public speaking tips to help you WOW your audience
Louise Greaves Jun 17, 2021 7:23:38 PM
There’s two types of public speakers in the world, those who love the stage and jump at the chance to speak in front of an audience. And those who reluctantly drag themselves to do it because they know they should. It’s daunting for most people to speak in front of a live audience, but luckily there’s several ways to calm your nerves and ensure you impress.
If you’re delivering your talk virtually, check out our top tips for remote presentations here instead.
1. Speak to your audience
Make sure you know as much about your audience as possible. For example, what types of job roles, seniority, or interests they have. This will help you speak directly to their needs or desires and keep them interested. Also, when you’re delivering your speech try and learn it well enough that you don’t need to refer to your notes constantly. This will allow you to look up and make eye contact with your audience. Not only will this create a deeper engagement but you can see their reaction and respond accordingly.
2. Create a slick animated presentation
We’ve all experienced death by PowerPoint. Seemingly never ending slide decks, packed full of text and pixelated images. Keep your audience engaged with videos and interactive elements. Our whiteboard video creator tool, VideoScribe, lets you easily create your own animated videos. Check out how to transform a presentation into an animated video in just 30 minutes here.
If you’re looking for something more advanced our Studio team can custom create any animated video for you.
Animated videos are the perfect way to explain something complicated in extremely simple terms and will help elevate your talk from drab to fab.
3. Prep the tech set up
Check your tech set up, then check it again. Does your clicker have batteries? Do you know how the microphone works? Do you have the correct adapter to connect your laptop to the screen? If you’re using a conference laptop and will be sending your presentation to a different machine, check your fonts are embedded and any video and animations are working correctly on the new machine. These are things you want sorted well in advance. You don’t want to be panicking five minutes before you’re due to go on. Create yourself a checklist so you can be confident everything is working and you can focus on delivering the content. Use the below as a starting point:
- Check fonts embedded in presentation
- Check animations and videos work on conference laptop
- Test microphone
- Check batteries in clicker
- Do you have correct adaptors
4. Practice in front of the mirror
Practice delivering your talk in front of the mirror or record yourself with a camera so you can watch it back. When you feel ready it’s great to practice in front of a friend or colleague too. Talking to yourself is one thing, but another set of eyes will force you to practice engaging with the audience. They can provide feedback on the talk itself as well.
5. Be sincere
If you speak from the heart about something that’s important to you, you will come across as far more sincere and persuasive. Include personal anecdotes, and use storytelling techniques to connect with the audience. Check out our top tips for business storytelling to learn more.
6. Grab attention from the start
Kick off with a joke, a question, a shocking statistic, perhaps even a prop. If you start with a bang and make a great first impression, the audience will immediately be on your side and rooting for you to do well. This will give you confidence and should help settle any last nerves.
7. Speak slowly
When you’re nervous it can be easy to speak really quickly and to race to the end. But you need to slow it down, way down. Leave pauses for the audience to digest what you’re saying, ask questions, even laugh hopefully. And don’t forget to breathe! This might sound obvious but in the heat of the moment people often take shallow infrequent breaths. So breathe deeply and consciously to calm your nerves and allow your message to sink in.
8. Repetition is your friend
If a point is extremely important don’t be afraid to repeat it. Find your key take away message from your talk and repeat it throughout. A powerful phrase repeated will have more impact than reams of filler sentences. A famous example of this is Martin Luther King Jr’s iconic “I have a dream” speech, he repeats the phrase “now is the time” to create a sense of urgency:
“Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation … Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice … Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.”
9. Simplify, simplify, simplify
Talk in simple, easy to understand language. If something seems complicated try and imagine how you’d explain it to a child. As discussed above animated videos are the perfect tool to illustrate something complicated in a simple way, as they allow you to show and not just tell.
Here’s an example animated explainer video created by Sparkol Studio:
10. Move your body
Whether you walk around the stage or simply gesture with your hands to reinforce your points, it’s good to move. If you stand frozen like a statue it will make everyone - yourself and the audience, feel more tense. Relax your body and allow it to move intuitively.
For inspiration from some fabulous public speakers, check out our favorite TED talks on storytelling.
To discover what amazing videos Sparkol Studio can create for you, get in touch with our team now.