How to speak in public – 50 wonderful tips!

Have to speak in public but are afraid of? Here are 50 tips you should read that will help you overcame you fear and become a better communicator.

  1. Accept the fear, it is normal. It is considered the No. 1 fear, worse than death.
  2. Know your audience: who they are, what they want, what are their “pains” and what makes them stay alert and have “a twinkle in the eye.”
  3. Define your intervention in a sentence: “In the end I want them to grab this idea”.
  4. Don’t say too much, usually less is more. Say the essential.
  5. Our brains have two hemispheres, so it is important not only to pass the information but also to do storytelling, play music, videos, etc.
  6. Smile! It makes you feel well with yourself and influences your audience.
  7. Practice, practice, practice…
  8. Before you start, be alone for 5 minutes in silence, breathing deeply (breathe through your belly , it calms you down).
  9. Before you start, set your intention on what you’re going to do. Mentally think (again) “at the end I want them to leave with this idea.”
  10. Start with something that stimulates your audience attention (eg video, music, quiz, etc.).
  11. Use humor, if you’re comfortable with it. When? At the beginning and from 10 to 10 minutes afterwards, at least the first hour, otherwise people’s brains tend to ‘switch off’.
  12. If you use a PowerPoint presentation make sure you uses pictures and few words. Use empty spaces in your slides.
  13. Look people in the eye. Try to connect with them .
  14. Tell your own stories, the ones that come from within, from the heart.
  15. Breathe…
  16. Go easy at the beginning, don’t talk too fast (you’ll think you’re not but stress will make you go faster).
  17. Drink water and have a bottle near you: stress dries mouth.
  18. If you are using equipment (PC, columns, pointer, etc.), make sure you test it before.
  19. Use silence to your advantage. At the beginning it’s difficult, make pauses and look people in their eyes. If you smile, even better.
  20. “What’s in it for me”: remember that this is essential point. People are always thinking “what do I get out of this I’m hearing?” -> Build the bridge between your world and theirs (that implies you investigate in advance on who they are).
  21. Makes partial syntheses.
  22. Makes a synthesis at the end.
  23. Engage people: make questions, play games, etc.
  24. Use humility as a strength: If you don’t know, admit it. Offer yourself to investigate.
  25. Do not go past your time. People prefer to finish sooner than later.
  26. “Hara Hachi Bu”: Better to let people wanting to know more than “stuck” with a head full of things.
  27. NEVER hide yourself behind a podium. face your fear and go to the front of the stage or table, if necessary.
  28. If you make a mistake… it happens! Move on.
  29. Stay PRESENT.
  30. Breathe…
  31. “Expect nothing, be prepared for everything”: Structure your presentation but keep it flexible so that it can “unfold”.
  32. Do not behave autistic: Read the body language of people on the audience.
  33. HAVE FUN!
  34. “This to, shall pass!”: Whatever happens, it will pass and at the end of the day you’ll be in the cozy of your home.
  35. Watch lectures online (at TED, Ignite, Pecha Kutcha, etc.). And learn from the best.
  36. Accept that you cannot please everybody. Even Obama had more than 50% of people who didn’t vote for him.
  37. If someone is distracted talking to the colleague, slowly move to that area of the room.
  38. If you notice there is noise in the room, start lowering your tone of voice.
  39. Talk with rhythm (remember that it is you that is setting the pace).
  40. Speak with passion.
  41. Move around the room smoothly.
  42. If you don’t remember something, admit it and pass to the next subject.
  43. If there is someone to speak before you, try to make a bridge between both speeches.
  44. Breathe…
  45. If you use slides, have great attention to design: beautiful and simple is always good.
  46. If you use other people materials (eg exercises), honor them, referencing the authors.
  47. Look for people with “sparks in their eyes” and “feed” from them.
  48. Remember that it is only difficult at the beginning: after that it gets easy, simply follow the “flow”.
  49. Do your best because then you never have anything about which to repent. Even if it goes wrong it will serve as learning example and, in that case, it was positive!
  50. Ah… don’t know if I said this before but, do not forget to breathe (and smile too)!

This article was kindly provided to by Vasco Gaspar.


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