Most of us would never willingly offer ourselves up for a public speaking engagement. Psychology Today says it’s the thing we fear more than death! But consider the benefits from a business point of view.
In the process of preparing your story for a public speaking engagement, you really hone what you are about and what your message is. Presenting to an audience on a subject you know well (your business journey) can also boost your confidence. When you speak on a topic close to your heart, it’s easy to speak with passion.
Public speaking is also a very effective marketing tool and can help you reach a broader audience. You can win people over simply by sharing more about yourself – they resonate with authenticity.
You can establish yourself as an expert in your industry. You might be surprised by how much you know and have learnt over the years, and how much you have to share with and give to others.
Toastmasters has clubs around the world and many people who fear public speaking or want to develop their leadership skills use the Toastmasters forum to develop their confidence and material. Visit the Toastmasters South Africa page to find out more about clubs in your area.
You can also pick up public speaking tips and skills by watching the most popular TED Talks of all. Emily McManus, the editor of TED Talks, offers these public speaking and presentation tips:
- Use big images and few words to help your audience get the point quickly. Don't make people read a lot while you're talking.
Use fresh and surprising images. Flickr CC-licensed images are a secret trove of unusual, high-quality images you can use.
Look for free visualisation tools to show your data with animation.
Use real props sometimes. Bill Gates started a talk by wheeling out two barrels of food from a fallout shelter. For another talk, he released (harmless) mosquitos into the auditorium.
The use of visuals is important, but so is humour. Interestingly, Ken Robinson does not use any visuals in his TED talk, which at nearly 41 million views is the most popular talk of all. He does, however, make people laugh a lot.
This Creative Live blog on comedy tips you should steal from the best TED talks says the quickest way to be funny is to use already proven images and videos. The blog suggests finding an image from Google Images or Imgur that conveys a point rather than just telling people about it. But it does take timing – you need to treat the image as the punchline and build up some anticipation before you reveal it.
If you want to see this technique in action, watch Seth Godin’s TED talk ‘This is broken’, which gets 3,4 laughs per minute with 58% of those laughs linked to funny images.
Even if you don’t actually want to put yourself out there and speak to a large audience in a packed auditorium, going through the process of developing yourself as a public speaker can help you find your voice, develop your message, and come up with new ideas and ways to present yourself and your business. It’s also a good way to meet other people and connect with contacts in your field.
The material you develop and the skills you adapt can also help you create video content for your website, blog and social media pages.
Take out: Even if you don’t want to speak to large audiences, developing your skills and material for public speaking can boost your confidence and define your message as a brand and person. Public speaking (even through video material) can help you meaningfully connect with your audience and establish you as an expert in your field.
Author: Nicky Grandin