If the words “public speaking” make you break a sweat, Samantha Del Canto has the cure. Check out these insider tips for boosting your public speaking mojo. Lets face it – we weren’t all born to be professional public speakers. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn to become one. Even though speaking in front of a large group can be an intimidating, even daunting task, it can also be fun and rewarding.
Sam Del Canto has narrowed down her top public speaking tips to help you get the standing ovation you deserve.
1. Relate to your audience.
You wouldn’t discuss Justin Bieber’s love life with a group of highly-successful business people, nor would you chat about the state of the economy with a group of tweens. To have an impact on your audience, you must first understand who they are. Know who you’re speaking to, and be sure to tailor your presentation to those people. Share stories and examples that they can relate to. It’s all about connecting on their level, whatever that level is.
2. Have one main message. Avoid rambling.
Have you ever left a presentation with information overload? Don’t make the same mistake with your audience. Instead, focus on one main message or a focused list of topics that are consistent throughout your speech. Remember writing the thesis statement for high school and college essays? Think of your main message as your thesis statement. Just as each paragraph in an essay supports the thesis, each subtopic should tie into your overall message. This will help you keep a consistent focus, and avoid rambling onto irrelevant topics.
3. Do your homework.
Planning ahead will keep you one step ahead of your audience, which will help you become a more confident, knowledgeable speaker. Before writing your speech, research your projected audience. Anticipate the types of questions they may ask. Become an expert on your subject matter – that includes understanding opposing viewpoints, too. Taking these simple steps will make you appear more credible since you won’t be caught off-guard.
4. Have a plan B… and C
In public speaking, it’s important to always expect the unexpected. If, for example, you find your speech running too long, what material would you cut? Be prepared to throw out content if needed. Also, if the audience is looking tired or bored, have a story or two in mind to wake them up. And if a cell phone rings during your speech or a waiter drops a tray loudly, have an appropriate line ready to help get your speech back on track. You can never be too prepared!
5. Don’t simply type your speech or lecture; say it aloud.
Writing your speech and actually saying it aloud are two very different things. A speech, as the name implies, is spoken aloud – so do your audience a favor and practice it out loud first. Sometimes when you write something, it may not come across as you intended when it’s spoken. That’s why it’s important to speak out loud as you write. This will also help keep your speech conversational and not so robotic. Lastly, as you read your speech aloud, listen for your voice, tone, imagery and pauses. It may be helpful to record yourself so you can play it back.
6. Ride your waves of energy.
Sure, you want to keep your audience involved and entertained. But that doesn’t mean you have to shout your entire speech. Instead, ride your natural waves of energy. If you’re telling a particularly funny story, allow yourself to raise your voice or show more character if it feels right. Just follow the natural progression that you rehearsed, and be sure to use appropriate emotions to go along with your narrative.
7. Learn from others but keep your own identity.
Listening to powerful speakers like Tony Robbins and Donald Trump will leave just about anybody feeling a tad inadequate in the speaking department. But don’t think of it as competition – think of it as an opportunity to learn from the best! Analyze the skills you admire, and figure out how you can incorporate those techniques into your own brand.