When people go to see a public speaker, they actually do not expect much. If they are presented with an entertaining and enjoyable talk, it is an unexpected delight. Knowing this is actually advantageous to people who engage in public speaking events because they are then aware that the bar is set pretty low. If a speaker knows that their audience is not expecting too much, it takes off some pressure to deliver a perfect speech.
That said, audiences want to be able to have fun while still taking things seriously. Speakers who are able to provide audiences with both of these characteristics in their speech are in high demand. So, what can you do to make yourself one of these sought-after speakers? Here are some tips to improve your public speaking and set yourself up for success.
1. Tell Stories
Speeches tend to be boring and people really dislike being forced to sit through talks that they feel no connection to. If you are able to start telling stories, you can allow your audience to relate to what you are talking about while also adding in a bit of humor and instruction.
For example, rather than presenting an audience with dry facts, relate the statistics to something that is relevant in everyone’s life. Tell a story that everyone can relate to such as the struggles of modern travel or the well-known troubles of our healthcare system. Allow your audience to visualize how a situation feels before presenting them with your solutions.
This will allow your audience to become invested in what you are saying and want to hear more.
2. Forget the PowerPoint Presentation
No one likes to listen to someone read the words out loud on a large screen that they can read themselves. Rather than giving a PowerPoint presentation, provide your audience with just one slide at the end of your speech with your contact information and invite the audience to contact you with any questions about your topic.
This will open up the opportunity for continued communication with your listeners and will almost guarantee that your audience will reach out to you. It will allow your audience to know that you are authentic and it will make you more memorable to them.
3. Know Your Audience
Show up to your speech early so you can get to know your future audience. Take this time to mingle with people who are attending the talk and learn what they are hoping to get out of it. Ask questions and take notes of the answers so you can refine your speech accordingly.
Listen out for keywords that are specific to your company or industry and replace the words in your speech with theirs. This will allow you to become a trusted insider with your audience and help you bring them valuable information that they want to hear from the outside.
4. Be Yourself
Wear the clothes that you are comfortable wearing and don’t try to be someone who you are not. People showed up to hear you speak, not an imposter, and you want your audience to believe in you, which requires honesty from the start.
Speak like you talk and do not be afraid to show your audience who you are and what you believe in. Set the mood in the beginning of your speech with a joke to get people to pay attention and feel intrigued to hear the other things you have to say.
5. Be Humble
Remember that it is a privilege to have an audience, not a right. Every time someone decides to listen to you speak, it is a privilege that you have earned. Because you can lose this privilege, it is important to respect your audience and speak to them in a way that encourages them to learn and improves their lives.
If you are able to focus on these things, you will be better equipped to maintain the attention and respect of your audience.
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