Five tips for presenting like a professional

Louise Stevenson, CEO of Speakeasy Coaching
Louise Stevenson, CEO of Speakeasy Coaching

Does the thought of public speaking fill you with dread? Do you struggle to engage your audience when you pitch? You’re not alone.

Most people find the act of public speaking daunting, but with the right tools you can be a powerful and authentic speaker.

Here are five top public speaking tips that will increase your confidence, and ensure you’re calm and ready to deliver a talk, pitch or presentation that makes an impact and gets results.

Know your material:

Pick a topic you are interested in. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humour, personal stories and conversational language – that way you won’t easily forget what you’re saying.

Audiences want a conversational style from their speakers. The trick is to make it feel like a conversation.

Practise. Practise. Practise! Rehearse out loud:

The more you do, the more you’ll remember your talk as well as gain a natural rhythm to your delivery. It’ll also become clear which parts you should put emphasis on. Edit and revise as necessary.

Be organised:

Know your content and arrive at the venue early. Greet some audience members as they arrive. Listen and observe the audience, compere and other speakers.

This will give you an extra edge in that you won’t repeat content and you can add, comment or avoid (if necessary) earlier topics.

Relax:

Take a deep breath as you approach the mike. This works in two ways; it’ll make you more relaxed and it will make your tone of voice much more natural.

When you reach the mike, take a minute to smile get yourself set up and centred. This buys you time and calms your nerves. It also signals to your audience that you’re confident and calm.

Don’t apologise for any nervousness or problems:

The audience probably never noticed it. Don’t undermine yourself by saying ‘I’m just’, or ‘I’m not very good at’, or ‘I’m not prepared’. Have faith in yourself and deliver your message with enthusiasm and confidence.

Louise Stevenson is chief executive of Speakeasy Coaching, a coaching agency that provides practical tools to transform the quality of your communications on a one-to-one or group basis.

Louise is leading the Brighton Chamber Bite-sized Learning: Pitch and present like a pro training session on Friday, June 14. For more information about Brighton Chamber, including its upcoming networking and training events, visit www.businessinbrighton.org.uk