As a small business owner, you should always be your own best advocate. After all, no one knows your business better than you. Public speaking can be a powerful way to promote your brand.
Speaking at business events and conferences lets you share your message with a large audience. Public speaking may also help you meet new clients and stand out from business competitors. However, presenters must be well-prepared in order to take full advantage of these opportunities.
These tips will help you become a successful public speaker.
“Even experienced business speakers practice. If you are nervous, have someone videotape you for self-critiquing. An audio recorder will allow you to gauge if you are speaking too fast, which can easily happen with a familiar topic.
Your tone should be natural and not monotone; don’t be afraid to allow natural pitch intonations to come through just as they would in a normal conversation. Practice at least once in the location of your speech if possible – particularly if there is equipment you’ll use. Get used to how the room sounds, such as how loud the air conditioning system is.”
Source: The Arizona Republic
2. Know your audience
“Before you face those staring faces, you need to understand who you’ll be speaking to. You can’t address your audience properly if you don’t know who they are, what they’re concerned with, and what they want from you. Knowing all of these facts will help you tailor the speech and make it much more effective.”
3. Focus on opening strong
“First impressions matter, especially in public speaking. Grab your audience’s attention early with a personal anecdote or audience interaction. Ask a question to which audience members can raise their hands in response. Or, share a story about how you overcame a difficulty or were presented with a problem — a problem that led you to your elevator pitch.
A strong opening that connects with your audience is key to keeping people paying attention. The most successful public speakers frame their pitch as a narrative. Speaking coach Jean Hamilton explained, “People are best able to remember numbers when a story is attached.” Your opening sets the tone for the rest of the presentation. Set the scene to deliver a powerful pitch.”
Source: U.S. Chamber
4. Pay heed to your body language
“Along with words, your tone and body language also matter a lot when you communicate. Your movements, gestures, and facial expressions convey what’s going on in your mind. Any wrong vibes from your end may push your audience away. Thus, pay attention to your body language while speaking in public.”
- Don’t cross your arms or clench your hands, instead keep them relaxed.
- Avoid putting your hands in your pockets.
- Make proper eye contact (do not scan or stare) with your audience to make them feel included.
- Learn to control the tone of your voice.
5. Be yourself
“I always think of the crowd as a group of friends, all out for a whiskey or a coffee together, and I just happen to be dominating the conversation for a bit.
My goal is to be the same person onstage that I am offstage, and for the presentation to feel like 45 minutes when we’re hanging out together, telling stories and looking at data, and trying to find great tactics and answers to our marketing or technology or startup questions.”
Rand Fishkin, founder of SparkToro
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