Running your own business can be quite exciting as you get to take your ideas and make them a reality. However, they can also come with a great deal of challenges which is why many entrepreneurs seek the latest tips to help give them an edge.
One skill that many business owners have been recently developing is public speaking. With platforms like TED now giving a voice to so many individuals who have great ideas, everyone wants their voice to be heard. If you want to learn how to master your presentation skills, here is some advice from the public speaking website MotivationalSpeakerz.com:
Using your voice
Practice using your voice to add variety and interest to your speech. If you make a statement, make it sound like a statement. If you ask a question, make it sound like a question. Speed up, slow down, raise your voice, whisper. Practice the voice music that keeps the audience interested and listening.
If you ask a question you’ll want to pause for an answer, so when you practice… pause.
If the audience are laughing you’ll want to pause, so when you practice… pause.
You may want to add drama by pausing, so when you practice… pause.
Don’t forget your gestures. They should fit naturally with the words, not look theatrical or mime like and they should add to the words or even replace words. Using gestures is very important because you do not want to come off as being stiff or nervous. By using them in a natural way, you will come off as being relaxed and confident.
You probably won’t have an audience for your rehearsals but that’s not a problem. Practice looking round the room as though you did have an audience. Deliver questions and punch lines to imaginary individuals in the audience. Get used to moving your head as you will for the actual performance. According to the Coaching Institute, making eye contact is a sign of confidence. It also allows you to make a connection with people and present yourself as being authentic and genuine.
Props can be a nightmare so I try not to use them, but if you are using props, practice using them. Make sure you can get to them easily without interrupting the flow of your speech and if the audience have to be able to see them…. make sure that they are big enough!
Give him a hand
With your notes on the lectern and you standing back… what will you do with your hands? If you want to you can rest them lightly on the lectern, but that can give the impression that you are scared to let go of the lectern. Stand back from the lectern and keep your hands in a neutral position, from that position you can make your gestures.
What’s a neutral position? Try and find one that works for you:
- Hands loose by your side.
- Both arms bent at the elbow and hands in front.
- One arm loose and one arm bent.
Practice until you find a position that looks natural and you are comfortable with.
After each practice
While you practice, don’t stop and alter your notes, get to the end and then revise your notes. If you keep stopping it will interrupt the flow of your speech. What sounded wrong, which words did you struggle with… anything that comes to mind. Then revise your notes ready for the next practice. Don’t forget, there are no well written scripts only well rewritten scripts.
What about an audience?
Let’s face it… who wants to sit and listen to you practicing your speech? Spouse? Kids? Maybe once or twice, but not every time. Get used to practicing on your own and pretending you have an audience. You will soon become your own best judge of how the speech is going. Perhaps when your speech is well polished you could ask some of the family or friends to listen and give you some feedback, but not every time.
Time your speech
Even if you don’t have to speak to a given time, make sure that you time your speech. At some time in the future you will be asked to give a 15min or 20min speech, so get into the habit of timing all your speech practices.