5 Things to Know Before Public Speaking
Emcee Singapore: In many professions, some amount of public speaking is necessary. It might be that you need to present in a small meeting, give an update to the entire company, or present at a conference or other event. No matter what it is or how daunting you find it, there are steps you can take to prepare and improve your skills.
So much of what goes into public speaking happens way before you step up to the front of the room. Preparation and practice are key. Here’s what you can do in advance to make the actual speaking part as smooth as possible.
1) Understand the Expectations and Learn the Details
Gather all of the information regarding location, technical setup, time you’ll be speaking, dress, topics to include/avoid, type of presentation. Having all of this information ahead of time will help you prepare a presentation that fits the occasion and resonates with your audience.
It’ll also help you avoid technical or logistical snafus that can add unnecessary stress. You don’t want any surprises as in realizing you were supposed to bring a laptop or handouts.
2) Know Your Audience
It’s as important to understand your audience as it is to understand the subject you’ll be discussing in front of them. Make sure you understand the level of knowledge. Tailor your presentation accordingly. You don’t want to bore them with details they already know nor do you want to overwhelm them.
Even if you’re giving the same speech to two different audiences, you should take the time to customize it. You should always ask yourself, “What is the specific audience and why are they there?”
So, for example, the toast you’d give at an engagement party among all your college friends might be pretty different from the speech you give at the same friend’s wedding in front of the whole extended family.
3) Plan and Structure your Speech
So often the focus of advice about public speaking is about how you’re saying the words in front of an audience. Those things are unequivocally important but before you get there, you have to think about what you’re saying.
You can have great diction and you can have great presentation skills, but if your words and structure are all over the place then people are not going to remember what you said. It is 100% about simplicity, because when you’re giving a speech in front of a live audience it’s so fleeting that if you have multiple points and if you go off on tangents and if you don’t stay on one simple path then people won’t remember what you were speaking about.
Always pick one central point when preparing a talk – whether you’re speaking for five minutes or 45. You should present your central theme, give supporting evidence and examples, and keep circling back to that main message. So even if the audience forgets 99% of your speech, which they will, they will go home with that 1%.
In a workplace setting, this might translate into laying out a challenge your team is facing, zooming out to examine how other teams and companies are thinking about and handling similar issues, and end by proposing next steps for your team.
4) Don’t Overload your Slides
If you’re using slides to accompany your presentation, make sure you avoid overloading them with too much text. Think about how you like to be presented to. Very few of us like an 80-slide presentation where the person just reads everything to us.
Beyond the simple fact that people will be distracted squinting at that teeny tiny type, you might be tempted to start reading off the slides and you’ll end up sounding like you’re droning on and on and on in a monotone.
Instead, use slides primarily as visual complements to your words and a tool to emphasize your main takeaway.
5) Practice, Practice, Practice
Okay, pay attention, because if you absorb just one thing from this article it should be this: You have to practice. Not once or twice but over and over again.
When you practice it enough you figure out the rhythm. You’ll also feel more confident and comfortable speaking without reading off a piece of paper (or your slides) because the structure and progression will become so familiar.
Take advantage of any opportunity to practice when you’re preparing to speak. Practice of any sort can be very helpful. Practice in your room or in the shower or driving in the car.