Most of us, when invited to stand in the spotlight and give a speech or presentation which we may or may not have had the time to prepare or rehearse, would have the fear running down our backs. Guess what, this is actually a physiological process of our body to prepare it to run from a lion, at least in evolutionary perspective. The same happens during public speaking. That slightly anxious feeling when standing at the front surrounded by people who expect to hear something from us, is normal and can be controlled. There are several mechanisms and prep tips on how you can calm yourself down, focus and deliver your speech or presentation in a professional manner. This series will provide you with some public speaking tips.
Define a structure: Bring it to the essentials – what are you going to include and what is to be left out. You want to make sure that you cover the important points and have quality content. “Empty sentences” will bore your audience and underline your credibility. The worst speech is the one without purpose or structure, just a random selection of sentences. This way you can be assured that the audience won’t be able to follow you, thereby decreasing the impact of your speech. So, draft a structure – an introduction, two or three supporting points and a conclusion. For the supporting points make sure to state them, explain them and prove them. Put that structure down on a piece of paper or whatever is handy to make a note on and fill in the gaps with around 20 words or less underneath each of the three main sections. Even if someone asks you a few minutes before to come up and say a few words, you should still use that structure, scribble the main points and thereby avoid any ambiguity or tendency to ramble.