As an entrepreneur starting a technology and innovation business, there are many skills you will need to learn if you want your company to thrive and make it into the black. Sadly, many startups fail because the owner is unprepared to handle all of the responsibilities that come with running a successful venture. And one of these skills is giving presentations.
With the right mindset and approach, you can learn to speak in public and lead your employees in a way that motivates them. There are many tips and techniques that can help public speakers to become more effective and drown out any negative fears or anxiety. Becoming an engaging public speaker is actually easier than you think if you follow a simple plan.
Choose A Topic You Know Well
When people listen to someone speak, it is because they want you to teach them something that they don’t already know. They are looking for that one insight or hack that will help them with their business objectives. Therefore, it is important that you identify one specific topic that you can expand upon that will greatly help your audience.
As a tech and innovation company, this means that you must be willing to open up and share something that you might consider a secret. Whether you give a presentation on your latest strategy or invention, you need to be willing to pull back the curtains and show everything.
If you pay close to attention to some of the top innovation keynote speakers, you will see that they all share insights on what made their project or business successful. They do not hold back any secrets. The reason they do this is because they want to build more trust with their peers and establish themselves as an authority in their industry.
Practice Until It Feels Natural
Practicing your speech can help effective public speaking so long you do not practice too much and work yourself out. While practice is important, try not to get too consumed by it by adding unnecessary content into the speech.
Technique is important and you can practice this in many different ways to find one that feels right for you. You might start by practicing with smaller audiences first and try a range of techniques such as serious tones or funny expressions. Then you can move up to larger groups once you feel comfortable.
Find the Right Resources
There are courses that can help bring about effective public speaking for people who need them. If you suffer from fear or anxiety, consider a course to help overcome that nervous feeling that cripples you. Some nerves are good, as it can help create energy, but not to the extent that you can’t actually deliver the speech because your anxiety is too great and the fear makes you feel sick. Either a group course or individual coaching can help you to learn techniques to help you.
There are also plenty of activities, games and examples of effective public speaking events available either online or in print. Access as many of these as you can and learn from other, more experienced public speakers. The resources are all there to help you so take advantage for effective public speaking so why do it the hard way?
Props and Activities
Think of a time when you have been in the audience and the speaker really engaged you.
What did they do?
What methods of public speaking were used effectively?
One effective public speaking method successful people employ is by the use of props, so long as they are either used as an ice-breaker or they have relevance to the topic. Props can include jokes, games, quizzes, visual aids, stories or statistics. Whilst props can really liven up a presentation and add energy, don’t go over board and try every single one you lay your hands upon. Too many effects will dampen the purpose of the presentation. Plan when you will use each prop – you might decide to use one right at the beginning to relax the audience and build rapport, or you might dot them in at various stages of the presentation.
Once you establish your basic public speaking skills, then you might want to consider the next phase which is motivational speaking. According to Adam Guild, Motivational speakers are able to deliver a message in such a way that anyone who hears it cannot help but be inspired to change or take action. A speech topic can be obviously motivational, or the effect can be little subtler.
If you have ever seen some of the more well-known business speakers, you will see that many of them also offer motivational speaking because in a sense, when they are giving a presentation at a conference or at their office, they must inspire the audience to take some form of action.
Motivational speakers can:
- Re-energize staff moral
- Improve sales results
- Inspire people to change their life
- Motivate people to be more productive
According to Sean Adams of Motivation Ping, motivational public speaking involves more than just delivering a message – you must inspire the audience to take action in some way. In this instance, the audience is looking for inspiration as well as information and it’s your job as the speaker to find a way to do that. This type of public speaking can take a little bit longer to master due the different levels of outcomes desired.
Related: 7 Must Read Motivational Books
Format and Structure
These are both very important aspects of effective public speaking. Once you have researched the topic, have thought of some props that you could use and have an idea of what you want to say, you now need to look at the format and what order you will deliver all the information.
An introduction, then the main body of the talk, followed by a conclusion is a good structure to follow. But if you need to mix it up a bit along the way then by all means, do so. Create a flow that both yourself as well as the audience will appreciate and be able to follow easily. Depending how long the presentation is, you might need to schedule breaks. Create a format around the topic – is it a topic that needs lots of momentum and few breaks? Or do you think the topic would best be delivered with lots of breaks and activities?
Practice Makes Perfect
Once you have found the best format for your presentation, now you will need to practice so that you can perfect your delivery. This requires a great deal of patience as well as attention to detail. Keep in mind that you don’t need to memorize your speech word for word. You just need to know the main structure of it so that you can speak in a natural way. Because you want to keep eye contact with your audience, all you will have are basic notes to help keep you on your path.
Here is a summary of some of the tips we have covered:
- Practice speaking in public at every opportunity
- Start small, and work up to bigger groups
- Learn your topic or topics well
- Learn about the audience and what they want
- Remember, you do need to be perfect
- Deliver something of value to the audience
- Enroll in a course or join a mentoring group
Research, practice, and relax and soon you will find that to master effective public speaking is easier than you think.