Public speaking is one of those things we’re forced to do in college. And when I say forced, I mean forced.
I remember the first time I had to stand up in front of my peers. It wasn’t fun at all.
But then we begin to move up the corporate ladder. We go to sales meetings and pitch new business. We speak at our industry organizations and we generate some business leads that way.
In fact, speaking is one of the most effective ways to generate business leads, yet many of us don’t do it.
Five Tips for Excellent Public Speaking
Ross McCammon outlines what you can do to “step up to the podium” in order to make it more comfortable so you can easily leave with a stack of cards from people who want to hire you.
- Size up your audience. Have a good look at them and ask yourself what you can do to make a difference in their lives. Eye contact is key.
- State the facts. Let you audience know what you intend to do by stating the facts about what you have to offer and how it will help them.
- Establish authority. Establish your authority by telling a story that is interesting and paints an “impressionistic picture.” You want to giveaway pointers – ideas, rules, tips, etc.
- Be cool. Even if you’re dying up there, be cool. Don’t move around too much and watch your tone of voice. Somewhere between “mildly enthused” to be there and “excited to be there” is good.
- Ask for questions. When wrapping up, ask people to raise their hands if they have any questions. If people don’t raise their hands, you need to hone your speech. Ideally you want to get to the point where you have to stop taking questions.
He also has some tips for what you should not do:
- Don’t imagine the audience in underwear…talk about a serious distraction!
- Thank no more than three people at the beginning of your speech.
- Do not close your eyes in a dramatic fashion at a key point in the speech.
- Don’t flail your arms, legs, hips, etc., in a dramatic fashion.
At some point throughout your career, you will have to get up and speak in front of people. Spend some time crafting your speech and that story. Your story is what you will be remembered for. It will find it’s way into everything you do.
You will be able to incorporate it into your mission, your website, your collateral, your pitches…everything.