We all want to be outstanding.
If you seek to stand out at your workplace, it is highly possible that sooner or later you will be asked to give some kind of presentation. It has been said that public speaking is the number 1 fear of people in the world.
It’s important to not allow fear or anxiety to take over in these situations – as these are the prime opportunities to show people what you are made of and that you have the capacity to deliver.
A great deal of success depends less on the moment but rather on adequate preparation.
Therefore, before the presentation it is ideal to do the following:
1. Arrive early to familiarize yourself with the room and its technology.
2. Know what your biggest point is going to be — that one fundamental message that you want your audience to receive and remember. The best points convey “why” something should be done. Simon Sinek’s book “Start with Why” explains how and why the human brain is most receptive to these kinds of messages.
3. Memorize your opening and concluding sentences so you can start with a strong impression and end with an equally strong conclusion or call to action.
4. When you practice, do it out loud and in real time.
5. It is important to time yourself. Audiences are more concerned when you speak over time as opposed to under time. If you have spoken over time, it is advisable to cut content rather than speeding up how you speak. Being understandable to audiences is the ideal and is most important when you want audiences to receive and remember what you are telling them.
6. If you do use notes, focus on not having to rely on them too much. They should be used as reminders and not include the whole presentation on them. Maintaining eye contact and a sense of connectedness with your audience is what you’re after. If you’re using PowerPoint, it is likely that you may not need notes at all. Just practice speaking from the slides.
Toastmasters International is equipped to teach advanced presentation skills and has done so for decades.
We encourage you to email the Toastmasters Public Relations Manager for Southern Africa, Andrew Tsuro DTM, to enquire about a Speechcraft program. For further enquiries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call +27 78 588 3816
Article by Michael Shackleton DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster)