10 lessons to improve your public speaking

I really subscribe to Malcolm Gladwell’s 10 000-hour rule that if you dedicate the time, you can master your subject. The same goes for presenting. In my line of work, I am constantly presenting whether it be to a client or at an industry talk on branding. As I continue on my path to mastering my delivery, I have learnt some valuable lessons along the way.

Below I have outlined 10 of the top lessons I have learnt:

  1. It’s about your audience, not you. (Attendees are there to learn from you).
  2. Keep your presentation to the point. (Audience attention spans are short).
  3. Ensure your slides are simple. (Enlarge your images and keep your copy to a minimum. Slides should be a tool to support you, not a crutch to read off).
  4. Be yourself. (Attendees tend to relate better when you are sincere. Arrogance is very off-putting.) 
  5. Dress the part. (You will feel better prepared and more confident).
  6. Ensure your presentation is underpinned by a story. (This creates a structure and helps the audience to follow sequentially).
  7. Be conscious of your body language. (Ensure that what you say and what you project align. Recording yourself talk is, in my opinion, a powerful tool for self-reflection and chances are you will be the most critical).
  8. Ensure that you project to the back of the room. (Just remember not to shout. Depending on the setting, considering using a mic or lapel to amplify your voice).
  9. Keep your message simple. (After all, if you can’t, how can you expect your audience to?)
  10. Look forward to giving a talk and enjoy it as you deliver it. (I know this may seem absurd but if you visualize your talk going well, it most likely will.)

What lessons do you have for public speaking?


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