When most people have reached a specific level in their careers, they may be called upon to do some public speaking. This could come in the form of giving a speech, making a presentation, hosting a public event and more. Some people are naturally very good at public speaking, and many others struggle with it. With a little effort and practice, most people can improve their public speaking skills.
According to an article in Forbes Magazine about the presentation skills of Steven Jobs, “He waits for them to react, to finish their applause. He doesn’t rush their responses. That’s how you establish a rapport with the people in front of you.”
An audience’s first impression begins the minute a speaker walks onto the stage. It continues as the the speaker approaches the microphone. The way a person walks can show confidence, or a lack of it. Successful public speakers have their heads up, and their shoulders back. They smile at the crowd as the walk toward a podium. Their speech is clear and easily understandable. They’re honest with the crowd, and appear comfortable when talking to them. Making a good first impression sets the stage for how an audience reacts to what a public speaker has to say.
Connect With The Audience
An effective way to get and maintain an audience’s attention, is to connect with them. Many successful public speakers do this by sharing life experiences. It can be a personal story based on a common experience. When an audience can identify with a speaker, what they say will be remembered. Audience members will associate what is being said to events in their own life. They will be able to better identify with the speaker.
A speaker who only depends on their words during a presentation, will be at a disadvantage to speakers who provide visuals. Some audience members will be able to understand concepts, most will benefit from seeing images that represent the topic. The use of the visuals with accurate descriptions can greatly improve a presentation. The focus needs to be on the visuals. This will make audience members depend on the speaker for information about what they’re seeing.
An effective presentation is designed to meet specific needs of the audience seeing it. A change in a company’s travel policy won’t be understood the same way in different parts of a business. A sales department that travels quite a bit, will want to know different information from the accounting department. Salesmen will want to know how a new policy affects their ability to travel. The accounting department will want to know how they’re expected to follow any new accounting rules and regulations regarding the travel policy.
A speaker needs to provide the legitimate information an audience is expecting. When a speaker talks about too many other things, they run the risk of losing an audience’s attention. If this happens, the important information a speaker provides could be ignored. It is essential not to drift too far away from the main topic. A speaker can’t give the audience a reason to ignore them.