How to overcome the great fear of public speaking

10670099_10152807622550832_777131569129329599_nI see you are worried, but I don’t see why. The room is full! The key to success in any presentation is preparation, so include rehearsals. Never deliver a speech without  being prepared, without notes (even if you don’t use them) or without having done it before. These three elements will give you a sense of confidence – one of the most important things for a good presentation. The most important thing especially when we talk about presentation to an audience is to be yourself, and to be sure in your message if you believe in what you want to do , to say, to deliver, than your message is authentic it is real!As you know I had lead trainings in front of different groups and peoples, but I have always been myself. Be honest and people will believe you – when you give to the people information and emotion – something real, which they can take with them, this is what make you different and people will remember you. When you have real message in your head and your heart, definitely you will present yourself very very well. Well prepared speech is 90% delivered speech. What is the preparation in this case? – to make up your thoughts and your ideas and to try to give them to the audience in the best way as you can…
Even if you are not a fan of formulas, the most easily, memorized plan for a presentation preparation consists 6 steps addressing important issues.
Step 1.:Why? Define your goals: to inform, to convunce, to entertain, to engage, to sell, to present …?
Write a goal presentation ( formulated it in one sentence);
Use it to be focused from very beginning and during the planning process, to keep you from straying the goal.
Step 2.:Who?Analyze your target audience. Learn everything you can about the people in it.
What do they know about the topic?Nothing? Are they experts?
Why are they there? Voluntarily or not?
What is their attitude? Friendly, hostile, prejudiced?
What are their expectations? Information, entertainment?
How many people will there be? A small group? A huge crowd?
Step3: Where?Get to know the venue. Visit in advance, if possible.
What is the exact location?How much time do you need to get to it? Parking problems?
How big is the actual room?
What is the room arrangement? Is there a stageor a podium?
What audio-visual equipment will be available? A microphone? A screen? Projectors?
Step4: When?Be informed when you’ll speak, for how long and under what circumstances.
What time of day?Right after lunch, supper?
How long is your presentation?
Who/What os before and after you in the program?
Step 5.: What?Collect, select, organize and structure your material.
Draw a mind map of everything you think of the topic.
Don’t attempt to talk about everything. Make a list of thigs you should, would like to and can include.
Organize and structurw your materials logically for smooth flow.
Use visual aids to complement your presentation.
Step 6.: How? Perfect your presentation through rehearsals and practice.
Transform the content and structure into useful notes to speak by.
Plan your movements, gestures, voice, eye contact and vocabulary.
Perform your presentation more than once before each important event.

It’s clear – a presentation is a communication exercise. The clasic structure has three main parts: a beginning, middle and an end. It seems obvious but it’s surprising how many speakers ignore it.
The beginning, or the INTRODUCTION,
could consist of the following (more or less in this order):
– Some introductory comments ( “I am happy to be here with you”.);
– An element attracting interest or attention (nothing shoking though);
– Duration of speech ( How long they will have to suffer);
– Presentation of cause or purpose;
– A general outline or a road map (What you will talk about, include topics, their order and preference for question time);
The middle, or the BODY, could consist of the folowing ( in any logical order):
– A general view of the context or history of the subject (why we did that research);
– Main points ( procedures, problems, results, facts, data);
– Discussions (for/against, advantages/disadvantages, before/after);
– Examples to keep attention and for clarity (jokes, analogies, images);
– Visual aids – tabkesm graphs, drawings, photographs, diagrams.
The end, or the CONCLUSION, could contain (more or less in the same order):
– An owerview (what you said);
– Conclusions(which should logically be drawn from the BODY);
– Recommendations (which should logically be drawn from the BODY);
– Actions (by the whom and when);
– Final words (what you want to leave them with).
The main idea in sticking to the structure is to have a smooth flow of information and steady interest. In addition, there should be an inner structure, the most popular of which are: Pros vs Cons, Cause and Effectl Sequence of Events (chronological);
One of the main rules when speaking to a group of people is that it’s not so important what you are saying, but how you are saying it.
Don’t forget your best visual aid. That’s right, it’s you! Think about it, you are, audible – animated.

Do not understimate the visual influence you can have during your presentation. the wise application of means is part of the process of turning you into a successful speaker. Improving your choice of vocabulary, body language, tone of voice, gait, gestures – all that requires planning and practice.
Follow the advice below and add your own ideas to bring a personal touch to the list.
Vocabulary:
– Use “pure”language, not long words, by no means jargon or technical vocabulary;
– Be specific not vague, use numbers, dates and details;
– Create images – by analogies, funny stories and colorful examples.
Voice
– Speak loud without hesitation, clearly and articulately;
– Change your tone of voice, pitch and spectrum.
– Use stress and emphasis.
Speed
Do not speak too fast, too slow or with the same speed the whole time;
– Change the course of speaking to have time for the material;
– Make pauses to achieve effect, to think ot to let the audience think.
Gestures
Use your hands, face and body while you stand or move around;
– Look natural, relaxed and confident (even if you are not).
– Avoid all and any boring snobbishness.
Eye Contact
Look at your audience;
– Don’t glue your eyes to the notes, just have aquick and discreet look at them(on your slides as well);
– Focuse on certain people only rarely.
Space
– Avoid barriers (tables, podiums) to look friendly;
– Move around, but don’t loiter about.
– Vary the spots from where you speak.
Don’t forget!
The key to success in any one presentation is preparation. It is no wonder that the American, Dale Carnegie, a remarkable speaker and a true guru
of public speaking, said:”He who fails to prepare, prepares to fail.”
K.

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5 comments

  1. I think the best way to organize a presentation is to organize the topics in a way that tells a story. Yes, storytelling. Why? Everyone is familiar with it and can easily relate. Storytelling puts the person presenting in a situation where the materials are organized, the flow is easy to follow and there is an element of suspense in how the discussion unfolds. It is not so much for beautiful presentation materials that diverts the attention of listeners. It’s more in the clarity and the ease of connecting the ideas presented so that there is a continuous flow of ideas, discussions and introspection. In fact, one interesting way is to get the audience to anticipate or to be involved in a sense of adventure and discovery. Yes, even in business and technical discussions. But not to the point where it digresses from the main objective. And yes. Becoming a member of a public speaking club such as Toastmasters is a good way of developing and honing speaking skills, be it in management, technical, business or people topic.

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  2. Great outline for presentation/public speaking success. I would only add the the following:

    1. The “Medium” dimension.
    Remember that all presentations or pubic speaking gigs have a predetermined medium of communication – or the technology you will need to use to present.
    Typically this could include:
    1. Overhead projector
    2. Portable projector for your Laptop/Computer
    3. DVD/VHS on Projection screen or TV screens
    3. Flip Charts
    4. Microphone at Podium
    5. Collar Microphone

    Determine which of the above you will need to work with and ensue re that you arrive sufficiently in advance of your presentation so that you can make sure all the equipment is working and that you are familiar with it. Get to know who is the engineer in charge at the venue so you can summon him/her in case of emergency.
    Get to know where the power and back-up power switches are.
    Ensure that you practice with the same type of equipment you will be using on the final presentation date – this is key, since your physical movement, delivery and comfort level will become so much stronger and confident, if you have practiced with the equipment in advance.
    Prepare to segue into ‘Plan B’ should things go wrong (and as we all know – every presentation will have it’s own share of glitches – technical or otherwise).

    I always let my audience know in advance what to expect if there is any equipment or technical failure – I usually suggest that we will take a brief break during the time to ensure we get it sorted out and back on track with minimal delays. You could throw in an extra refreshment break should the delay be longer than planned – it helps to let the audience know that sometimes there will be technology failures – but that these have been that have been factored into the overall program design.

    2. Remember to do several ‘dry-run’ rehearsals where you go over the final content of your presentation with a peer group or even a single colleague – so you can get feedback on areas that are flowing well and areas that need refinement. You can also plan for time management if you find some areas taking longer than you had planned for.
    Feedback is the breakfast of champions – the greatest presentations come from those who have planned and received feedback on how they are doing – before they get in front of the main event!

    Very well written and all the very best!

    Richard Francis

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