I recently attended a workshop on public speaking moderated by Brian Collins of Ovat!ion, a training firm that helps business executives become better speakers. This session reminded me about how important it is for entrepreneurs to speak with confidence in front of groups.
Here are a few tips that I picked up from Brian:
– Smile. This radiates confidence.
– Pause before you begin. This will help you and the audience relax.
– Eye contact is critical to communication. Look at people directly for two seconds.
– Show up early and check out the venue. This gives you time to adjust things.
– Avoid cold drinks before a speech; they constrict the vocal cords.
– Drink hot herbal tea to sooth the vocal cords.
– Eat breakfast. Avoid dairy. Limit caffeine.
– Avoid flashy accessories that may reflect light. That means no “bling” for the ladies such as earrings.
– Rehearse in front of a mirror or use a video camera; this will help you monitor your use of gestures.
– Avoid filler words or expressions such as “and”, “you know”, etc.
– Speak conversationally. Avoid “business-speak” or words that you are uncomfortable using. Speak as if you are having coffee with friends.
– Open with a compelling introduction. Try asking the audience a question.
– Slow down and tell your story clearly.
– Repeat yourself. This helps people remember your message.
– Remember that you know more about your subject than 98% of your audience, so speak with authority.
– Always write your own introduction for the introducer to read. This avoids any false expectations.
– Conclude by repeating your message. People typically remember only one or two things from a speech, so make sure that they remember the most important points.
– Bask in the applause!
John Bradley Jackson
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