8 Steps to Success as a Speaker

presentation skills Dec 15, 2021

Here are eight sure-fire ways of improving any speech or presentation. With these tips you will feel more comfortable, and you’ll have a much better chance of persuading the audience about the merits of your message.

Be conversational

You are TALKING TO people, not READING AT them. Use words and phrases you use when talking with people you care about. Short, simple words. No jargon. Don’t write in silence. Speak the words out loud before you write them down. Check how they sound to your ears. That’s how the audience will receive them. This is at the heart of our TalkitOut Technique.

Be passionate

Be comfortable showing your passion for your subject. Passion is the secret sauce that transforms speeches. Your passion will engage your audience and inspire them. Give the audience reason to get excited. By your tone and your body language, as well as your words, you must show that you believe in, and care about, what you’re saying.

Be a storyteller

If you want your information to be remembered, wrap it in a story. Stories inspire us, comfort us and teach us. Most speeches overflow with facts and figures. But facts on their own are forgettable. Well-told stories are like duct tape, sticking our facts in the minds of the audience. Stories must be relevant, showing a clear connection between the story you are telling and the point you are making.

Be focused

Before you start writing or preparing slides, think about the clearest, shortest, boldest expression of the main idea you want to plant in the audience’s mind. Summarize your thoughts in one short sentence. Everything you say or do should support this statement. Keep coming back to this ‘controlling idea’ throughout your presentation. Let it guide all your arguments and all the points you want to make.

Be yourself

Sometimes, when we are nervous, we hide behind big words and jargon. Or we adopt a persona we believe the audience wants. Being yourself is your most valuable asset. Speak and behave the way you normally do.

Use gestures that feel natural to you. If the words and gestures don’t come naturally to you, you may be perceived as phoney. Learn our TalkitOut Technique and you will always be authentic.

Be creative

Find an interesting way of hooking your audience with your opening words. Find relevant stories that will help paint a picture for the audience of the concepts you are discussing. Be imaginative when creating slides. You don’t have to fill them with text and bullet points. Use pictures and video to engage the audience, and seal the deal with short, simple words that reinforce your key message.

Be a guide

Vary your tone to help the audience follow your arguments. Use emphasis to direct the listener’s attention to what’s important. The way you add emphasis will guide the audience to understand your meaning. Sometimes, when nerves get the better of us, we race through a presentation in a monotone. And that makes it hard for the audience to enjoy and comprehend our message.

Be patient

Your ability to pause and be quiet for a few seconds will determine your success as a speaker. Pause for the audience to reflect on your words. Pause for dramatic effect. Pause for emphasis. For the audience, understanding comes in the spaces between words. Monitor your delivery. The faster you speak, the more you need to pause. The pause really is the speaker’s best friend.

 

Find out more about the TalkitOut Technique, and our other tools for success as a speaker, at www.halinastjames.com