According to NBC News Health, approximately 75% of people suffer from a fear of public speaking.[i] Considering that only one out of four feel confident in their ability to speak in front of others it may be beneficial to review some of the basics.
In a corporate setting, we speak publicly every day without even being aware of it. Each time we are in a meeting, sharing an idea with the team, or even taking part in a group discussion, we are presenting in front of our peers. However, when you put the label of ‘public speaking’ on to it, people tend to shy away. While it is often overshadowed by other important skills, the ability to present can really make you stand out as a professional in any organization.
Public speaking is an increasingly valuable and rare skill in a world that is operated primarily by digital means. Public speaking can help form connections with others, influence decisions, and drive change.[ii]
Here are a few great tips to improve your own public speaking skills and become a more polished presenter:
Know Your Material
As a presenter, a critical piece of successfully delivering your message is knowing your material inside and out. Be very comfortable with the information on the topic that is outside your presentation Being knowledgeable gives you credibility and means you’ll be readily available for any questions that might arise. It will increase your confidence in your ability to speak to the topic and help you get back on track more easily if you lose your train of thought. Knowledge also builds trust between you and the audience and helps you gain buy-in from them as well.
Tell A Story and Make It Relatable
One of the greatest skills of any good presenter is their ability to tell a story. In the words of Pixar’s Andrew Stanton, “don’t give them 4, give them 2+2.”[iii] Telling a story can help engage your audience and personally draw them into the presentation. Designing and presenting an engaging presentation can make you more comfortable with the audience and ease your nerves while presenting. Additionally, telling a story keeps the audience thinking about the topic long after the presentation comes to an end.
Stay on Time
This presentation skill may seem slightly less obvious, but it is extremely important. If you schedule a specific time block for the presentation, stick to it. When a presentation is scheduled for an hour, expect that your audience has mentally prepared themselves to be engaged for only one hour. If you go over the allotted time period, it is likely that your audience will have already mentally checked out. Keep a time schedule to help keep your audience engaged throughout the entire presentation.
Improving your presentation skills and becoming a strong public speaker truly can help you scale to new heights professionally. A few of the top benefits of being a good presenter in a corporate setting include:[iv]
- Stronger ability to communicate a message
- Networking Opportunities
- Improved Critical Thinking Skills
- Better leadership skills
By investing in your presentation skills, you will likely see positive changes in your personal and professional life. Visit our Soft Skills Training page to see how we can help you improve your presentation skills!