Public speaking, also known as oratory or oration, is the process or act of performing a speech to a live audience. For small business owners, public speaking is a skill that is needed to advance the business and create more opportunities for growth. Small business owners who have poor public speaking skills tend to often have a poor reputation or impression on their investors and or customers alike. It becomes a sign of a lack of confidence, and thus they can end up losing substantial business contracts for their brands.
Below are some strategies to consider to become a better public speaker.
1. Plan appropriately: Planning is essential in public speaking. Without consistent preparation, your presentation might end up becoming garbled with a ton of irrelevant thoughts for your audience. The audience can often tell when your speech lacks focus thus endeavor to plan well before stepping forward to speak. Even in impromptu situations, the few minutes you take before you go on stage is a great moment for planning. Just develop a general overview, in your mind, about what you intend to talk about.
2. Practice your stance: Where are you going to be standing? What position would you be taking? All these are very necessary to ensure that you deliver a good speech. For example, during an investor meeting, you need to have an idea about how you will be presenting to them. Would it be in the form of a lecture or a round table? Practice your stance before the ideal day to boost your confidence.
3. Engage with your audience: Audience engagement is significant in public speaking. Your audience always has to ensure that your audience is involved in the communication process. Speak to them on a personal basis, ask them questions or let them ask you questions. Doing this draws their attention and makes them more focused.
4. Pay attention to body language: Your body language has to be in sync with what you are saying. For example, if you are presenting a factual analysis of a project and you are shivering or shaking, your audience is likely to doubt your facts. Don’t tremble when speaking, don’t pace too much. Relax your nerves and be very confident.
5. Think positively: On the contrary, your audience is rooting for you to be great at your presentation so always think positive. Don’t be too anxious about the outcome. Instead, picture yourself as someone who has already delivered a great speech. You do not need to be afraid.
6. Cope with your nerves: Studies have shown that the same adrenaline that builds up the sweat when you are scared is the same one that builds up energy when you are delighted so why not focus on being happy and calm your nerves?
7. Watch recordings of your speeches: A good way to train yourself is to do a few mock-ups of your future presentation in front of your friends and or family. Ask them to record it for you and watch out for your mannerisms, mistakes and or success points. When you do this consistently, it helps you become more aware of your public speaking skills!