5 Easy Speaking Tips to Make You Look Like a Pro
Posted on August 22, 2014
Not many people know this, but during my last corporate job part of my responsibilities included coaching consulting teams on their oral presentations before they met with clients to present our proposed solutions.
For three years I learned A LOT working with extremely competent professionals who had no idea how to stand and present in front of a group.
Here are five of the speaking tips I taught them:
1. Create clean slides with only the most important points
If you find that you are jamming a slide full and reformatting like crazy, create a new slide. Endeavor to keep each slide to one main point, with only supporting information about that point.
2. Use large fonts people can actually read
Nothing puts an audience to sleep faster than projected slides in 12 point font. I like to use 30 point font for the main text on a slide.
3. Start and finish strong
I did many musical performances when I was younger. My mother drilled into me that my beginning and finish needed to be rock solid, and that the audience might not notice a few wrong notes in the middle. This has proven to be excellent advice for speaking as well.
4. What’s in it for them? Make sure they know!
Everybody is tuned into their favorite radio station WIIFM – or What’s In It For Me. You are asking your audience for their valuable time. Make sure they know why they are there and what they will get out of your talk. How will it benefit them? The clearer you are in getting this point across, the more attention you will receive from your audience.
5. Deliberately slow down your speech cadence and don’t mumble
Speak a little slower and more deliberately than you normally do. When you are nervous, you may naturally start to talk faster, so concentrating on slowing your speech cadence can compensate for that.
Bonus Speaking Tips
As my friend Carol Roth says frequently, “If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” Practice!
My mentor Michael Port stresses practicing in front of live people so you can see their body language in response to your talk, and also get verbal feedback from them. This is truly professional advice. Recruit friends or family or clients or strangers – but get in front of living, breathing people.
Speak for free and speak as often as you can. As my good friend Barry Moltz said, “Speakers speak!” That kind of sums it up, doesn’t it?
Public speaking is a huge fear for some people, I totally understand that. But just like with anything, the more you speak, the better you will get at it. And the easier it will be for you.
Bio: Catherine Morgan is an engaging speaker and the founder of Point A to Point B Transitions Inc., a virtual provider of coaching services to individuals who are in business or career transition. Catherine is the author of the eBook Re-Launch You: Discovering Your Point B and Embracing Possibility. Her productivity tips and career transition advice have been featured on WGN AM 720 and WIND AM 560 The Answer in Chicago, and on WCHE AM 1520 in the Philadelphia area. Catherine speaks frequently on topics related to productivity, career transition, small business, and entrepreneurship. She doesn’t take herself seriously, but takes her subject matter very seriously.
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