Does your heart skip a beat whenever you think about public speaking? We’re not all naturals at it, but as an entrepreneur you have to hone your public speaking skills. You’ll often find yourself in front of people delivering a speech, whether it’s in front of investors, your employees, or at a conference. Here are some tips that will help you become a better public speaker.
Know Your Stuff
The worst thing you can do is go into a speech unprepared. It’s not enough to write out what you’re going to say ahead of time. You have to be an expert at what you’re talking about. You have to know your subject matter inside and out, and be able to answer any questions anyone might have about it. If you don’t have in-depth knowledge on the topic, it will show, and you won’t be able to recover easily if you stumble or forget a part of your speech.
Know Your Audience
You should also find out as much as you can about your audience beforehand. If you’re speaking to a small group of representatives from another company, for example, research their roles and the company as much as possible. When you know a lot about your audience, you can deliver a better speech that you know will speak to them. Always arrive to your speech early and try to check out the audience if you can. Seeing them before you’re in front of them talking can help ease your worries.
Don’t get up and immediately begin your speech. Take a moment to say hello and greet everyone. It will help reduce your tension and get you ready to deliver the important stuff.
Never apologize for anything, especially for your nervousness. The key is to appear confident, even if you’re not. If you let your audience know that you’re nervous, you’re making it obvious. More often than not you feel a lot more nervous than you look to everyone else, so there’s no need to point it out.
Watch Your Body Language
The correct body language can instantly improve your speech and make you seem more confident. Remember to stand with good posture; don’t slouch. Also, smile! A smile on your face will do wonders to reach your audience and get your message across. Your eyes are very important, too. Are you making eye contact with the audience? Don’t stare at the wall behind them, or look down at your notes the entire down; you’ll lose them quickly. Eye contact will keep them engaged and interested.
Readjust Your Attitude
It’s important to remember that you audience doesn’t want you to fail or mess up. They also understand that public speaking isn’t easy for everyone. Remember that they’re on your side. But also remember that you can’t control what they do or think. Go into your speech with a positive attitude; be excited that you have the opportunity to voice your opinions or make new connections.