Hearing the word presentation can quickly send someone into cold shivers, especially the word we all hate, public speaking. Public speaking can be scary for all of us! Especially when it’s a large audience. Fortunately, if you are looking for some simple tips to improve or even learn how to public speak, then keep reading this article!
Toastmasters International has been a valuable program since 1924, with thousands of clubs globally, and we are lucky to have several chapters right in our city! Toastmasters focuses on helping people practice their public speaking and getting out of their comfort zone. On March 2nd, I attended a meeting with Windsor Toastmaster Club 6416, and thought I’d share some tips I have gleaned from them and things I’ve noticed!
Here are five tips on Public Speaking!
- Keeping your body language open
Body language can make a big difference when speaking out to the public. Being shy and hiding behind your arms or half-way facing your audience can affect your speaking aloud and give you less of a connection with your audience. As you approach a podium, stage or the front of a class, it would be efficient to stiffen up your posture, have your arms wide open, moving as you speak and soft facial expressions. By doing these three simple things, you are able to convey emotion with your audience, set a scene, and show you’re human!
Being prepared is usually the one thing most people have trouble with, myself included. Preparing and re-reading your speech will show any mistakes, troubles or word vomit you might not have caught when you read your speech in your head. It might also help you notice your sentence structure. What are you trying to tell your audience and why? Having a beginning, middle, and end to your speech may help you get through what you are trying to mention to your audience and keep it short, simple and sweet! Often if you go off tangents, you may forget your purpose. Afterall practice makes perfect!
3. Proper Attire
There is nothing worse than over or under dressing, especially when you’re the centre of attention! (Don’t worry, we’ve all been there). The event I had attended was business casual, in which I dressed up with a simple collared top and a blazer, with some dress pants and heels. Nothing too crazy, yet still professional! Clothes can have a big effect on your speaking, as you don’t want to be worried about showing too much cleavage, or even being under dressed! You want something that’ll make you feel great and confident about yourself so you’re ready to get up there and let yourself shine!
4. Eye Contact
Eye contact is a key role in nailing a presentation. As you speak to your audience, you want to avoid staring directly at the wall or the ground. By the end of your presentation, you should assure that you have made eye contact with at least five to ten people so you’re showing them that you have the same amount of interest in their understanding as they do in their listening!
5. Keep it real
Presentations are scary for all of us, and sometimes, a joke or two can lighten the serious mood and put you at ease. Let’s be honest, we’re all human after all. Don’t be scared to smile during your presentation! We all understand how you feel and you’re probably doing great!
Windsor’s Toastmasters Club 6416 was a great experience to go out and even practice public speaking myself. I quickly decided to present myself, and as I walked up to the podium, although it was briefly terrifying, in the end I know these people are there for me just like I was for them! It is a great opportunity to receive and give feedback for public speaking, as well as practice in front of a group of people who are solely there to support you!