A Foolproof Formula for Easy Public Speaking
The first thing to say in this article is that there’s no such thing as a foolproof formula for easy public speaking. There’s very little in this world that’s totally foolproof, and public speaking is often difficult, even at the best of times.
But don’t worry, we haven’t brought you here under false pretenses. We’re still going to share the next best thing, which is the closest you can get to a foolproof formula for easy speaking. If you follow the steps in this article, it won’t necessarily be so easy that you could do it in your sleep, but it’ll be pretty close.
And so with those little disclaimers out of the way, let’s get started.
A Foolproof Formula for Easy Public Speaking
1. Research your audience
All of the best presentations start out with audience research. This is the step during which you start to truly understand who’s going to be watching your presentation. You need to know this because it’s going to help you to tailor your presentation so that the whole thing is built with your audience in mind.
When you get your audience research right, it makes it much, much easier for you to create a presentation that people find engaging. In fact, it makes it much easier for you to make your presentation in the first place, because much of what you decide to talk about will be inspired by the people that you’re talking to.
2. Prepare your outline
One of the biggest mistakes that rookie public speakers make is that as soon as they have a concept for their presentation, they dive right in and start building it. This can be super tempting, especially when you’ve been struck by inspiration, but it’s impossible to over-stress how important it is to create an outline first.
Your outline should cover what you’re going to talk about during each phase of the presentation, generally separated into a beginning, a middle and an end. This is also the stage at which you’ll identify the key points that you want to talk about, along with the messages that you want people to remember and the actions you want them to take.
3. Fill out the content
Now that you know who your audience is and you’ve created an outline for your presentation, you’re ready to start filling out the content. This is the point at which you’ll build on those notes you’ve made and where you’ll start to create any slides.
Once you’ve filled out the content, go back to the beginning and read through it all from start to finish looking for any problems with the presentation’s flow and the order in which you cover things. After that, you’ll want to go through it again to look for spelling mistakes, typos and other mistakes.
Once you’ve finished filling out the content and checking back through it for mistakes, it can be a good idea to get someone else to read through it for you. A second pair of eyes can help you overcome the “snow blindness” that’s a natural result of spending too much time looking at words on a screen.
4. Practice as much as you can
By this point, you’ll probably be sick of the sight of your presentation, but you’re not done yet. Now that you’ve created your presentation, it’s time for you to start practicing it. You’ll want to start off with a dry run where it’s just you and your computer or notes so that there’s no pressure and you can just go through the presentation from start to finish.
Make any changes that you think are needed and then do another practice run, but this time you’ll want to find an audience to sit in and listen. Find out if they have any suggestions for how you could improve your content or delivery, and be on the lookout for any points at which they seem to lose focus or stop paying attention. You should also time yourself and see how long the presentation takes, allowing for the fact that it almost always ends up taking longer when you actually take to the stage.
5. Ask for feedback
We’re going to fast forward now and assume that you’ve delivered your presentation and you’re looking ahead to whatever’s next. Once again, you’ll want to contain your excitement and spend a little more time with this presentation before you race off and start thinking about the next one.
Spend some time chatting with people after your presentation and ask them for their thoughts. Encourage them to be as honest as possible, and take on board any constructive criticism that they provide so that you can improve for the future. Also consider creating a printed or online quick feedback survey.
6. Refine and repeat
Now that you’ve received feedback on your presentation, it’s time to take that and apply it to everything you do moving forward. Remember that a lot of feedback is universal. For example, if people keep telling you that you’re often just reading from your slides, you’ll know not to do that in the future.
Even when the feedback is specific to the presentation that you’ve just given, it’s worth going back to your presentation files and making those changes immediately so that you’ve got them stored somewhere. You never know when you might need to give the same presentation again or use it as a basis for a new one, and if you make those changes as soon as you think of them, you’ll be much better placed to deliver strong presentations in the future.
Now that you know our top tips for easy public speaking, we want to hear from you. What are your thoughts on the tips that we’ve shared? And do you have any tips of your own that you’d like to share with us?
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