Have you ever had to speak in front of a crowd? Whether it’s 10 people around a conference table or a large group at a symposium, speaking in front of people may be your least favorite thing to do. Successful people do not have to be natural-born speakers in order to “make it”, but it is smart to know how to deal with your nerves and speak well in case you have to do so for your career or for the benefit of your small business. By removing the mystery from giving presentations, it will be easier to approach these situations with more clarity of thought and less anxiety.
Many people think they must use a podium or stand behind something in order to look professional when giving presentations, but that is not necessarily the case. If you are more comfortable being closer to your audience and moving around a bit while you are talking, go for it. Chances are that your audience will appreciate your less formal and more personal approach. For many, one of the most significant mysteries is how to open a presentation — should you tell a joke or a heart-warming story, or should you get straight to the point? In reality, the best way to start depends on your comfort level, your audience and your intentions. Telling a bad or potentially offensive joke is not good, so if you are not sure, it may be best to find another way to start.
Another myth about public speaking is that you should refrain from audience participation until the very end. In reality, it can be quite helpful for you to engage with your audience as much as possible. Allowing for questions throughout your talk may help you feel at ease and connect with the other people in the room. This can also be a practical way to spice up a subject matter some may consider boring.
When it comes to giving presentations, practice makes perfect. It is smart to practice any talk you may have to give, write notes and learn what works best for you. With time and effort, you can become quite effective as a speaker, even if you do not think you are naturally inclined to address people in this type of setting.
By Meagan Kerlin for Vertu Marketing LLC