“Be so good they can’t ignore you” – Steve Martin.
Presentations seem like a nerve-racking job to most of us barring the ones who have the DNA of a public speaker. However, one cannot ignore the job that needs to be done, be it an assignment in college or any presentation at the office. Although people try a lot in grooming themselves for such a situation, a lot of them end up with not so good results.
Therefore, so that one can go up on stage or in front of a huge crowd of colleagues or students and not feel embarrassed about oneself, they may follow the upcoming strategies specified.
We all know that practice does make a man perfect be it in mathematics, grammar or oratory skills. It may not work always but putting in utmost effort always counts. There is a way of practicing which can be followed while preparing for a presentation.
The speech can be written down on a piece of paper rather than leaving it entirely for the final day. Reading it time and again will help in retaining the information. One can also rely on the videos available and break down the speeches of famous speakers so that they can present themselves in a better way. Once the preparation is done one can record a video of their speech. Asking a friend or a critic to assist in pointing out the mistakes and weak points improves the quality of the talk. Have a run through quite a number of times before finally speaking in front of the mass.
2. Well researched
A speaker needs to be well researched when he/ she is supposed to be presenting but however the matters that are in the least related to the topic should be left out, else the onlookers will lose interest in the material and information also the speech will seem dragged and out of focus.
Confidence is the key to success. It’s a known fact that if you speak incorrectly but with confidence, your mistake may be neglected. However, that is not the correct way to go about it. One should build their confidence by practicing more and more. While on stage one may feel the lack of confidence when they see people not paying attention or laughing. Any audience may laugh for a different reason but the orator tends to believe that it is him/her at whom they’re laughing.
The secret of overcoming such a situation is to shift focus from such people and concentrate on the ones whom the speaker can see, are nodding or focusing on his speech. While speaking, the lecturer is bound to be nervous which makes the nerves tense and the muscles tight. This leads to holding of breath. To come out of it, one should let go and take deep breaths which will result in more supply of oxygen to the brain thus helping the speaker in maintaining the track of words and thus regaining confidence.
4. Body language
While speaking on stage one should always focus on their body language. It will not be a show for the audience to see the speaker with an awkward body language. Being confident on stage always gives the audience a positive vibe about the orator. The posture in which one speaks also shows the skills of the public speaker. Wide open arms, moving around while speaking, showing enthusiasm in the speech speaks loads. This helps in engaging the audience to a great extent. While practicing for the presentation one should practice their public speaking avatar, that is, a different persona that one is going to put up on stage while speaking.
For making the audience more connected to the lecture the speaker himself/herself should be enthusiastic and energetic while expressing his/her thoughts. It is always better to speak in a relaxed fashion rather than hurrying to complete the speech and be done with it as soon as possible. One should work on the pauses they take while delivering a message. It is absolutely essential to take breaks while speaking to regain breath and recapitulate simultaneously. Last but not the least, always keep a faint smile on the face while speaking. This shows that you have the nerves to talk in front a huge crowd and yet carry yourself with poise. But it should not be overdone for one does not want to come as a clown on stage.
One should never forget that it is the audience that is the main part of the presentation. The audience is mostly sympathetic towards the speaker for they can connect with his situation. As a reward of this, one should try to keep the audience on their toes the entire time. For this the speaker needs to interact with the audience. Asking questions to the audience will urge them to think more deeply about the topic being discussed and make them feel a part of the discussion.
Another attempt is to ask the audience whether they have any query regarding the matter or not. This is a reverse psychology to make the orator more confident. It gives them a feeling that the onlookers were really paying attention and this boosts the orator’s confidence.
Ticking the funny bones of the listeners puts the orator one notch higher. Everybody is a fan of comedy. It appeals to the audience if the speaker possesses good sense of humour besides having knowledge about a particular issue. Cracking one or two jokes makes the spectators and makes the speaker winsome. Besides making jokes one may also share one or two stories about themselves which adds to the speech a personal touch. It invites the listeners and makes them more congenial.
7. Accepting defeat
It is okay not to know everything. It is okay to be incorrect. If someone points out a mistake and the orator is not really confident about it, he/she should give in like a humble person. Even during an interactive session if the speaker doesn’t know the answer to a particular question it is perfectly fine to accept the uninformed self. It is humanly not possible to everything about an issue. Some information may remain oblivious to the knowledge of the speaker.
8. Don’t fight the fear
Fighting the natural instincts will further make one worked up. It is better to accept the anxiety and stress and try to channelize it in the positive way. The nervousness results in the adrenaline rush which in turn makes the speaker more alert and attentive, therefore, improving the quality of the speech. So we can see, fear is always not bad.
9. Know the audience
Knowing the audience is another important ingredient for making someone a good speaker. The genre of the listeners helps in preparing the speech. If they are students, if they are office goers, their temperament, everything acts like a building block for the oration.
Easier said than done for sure, but, we all know that enjoying something that we indulge into will have better results. If one wants to pass the assessment of presentation with flying colors, one ought to feel comfortable in the surroundings and savour it. It shall only come with experience. Therefore, putting oneself in this situation often will help in amplifying their confidence and oratory skills.
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