Traditionally, public speaking was only for a few select. It was for television hosts, pastors, event speakers and others who worked their way to earn it. However, there has been a greater demand and expectations on more people to publicly speak. In addition, the internet has created a platform for anyone to be a public speaker. More local entrepreneurs are being invited to share their experiences at startup meetings, more employees are expected to give presentations on regular basis, and church goers are asked to share their stories on videos or at events. Public speaking has always been uncomfortable for me but it was necessary due to my heavy involvement in real estate and a church ministry. I have had the opportunity to speak at city council meetings, neighborhood meetings, church services, and television interviews. Through trial and error, following the steps below have tremendously improved my public speaking skills and made me more comfortable doing it. They are a list of 5 “P’s” that I go over before any speaking engagements:
The 5 “P’s”:
Spend plenty of time preparing your speech. Don’t assume you will “figure it out” on the spot. Ask yourself “What am I trying to send across through my speech?” “What are the most important points I am trying to make?’. It is crucial to spend time preparing and organizing your thoughts with a clear goal in place.
2- Be Precise
One of the biggest mistakes people make is they try to write down and memorize word-for-word what they are wanting to say. The problem with that is if you start reading your notes, it becomes uncaptivating and boring. Instead, Be precise by writing down bullet points with short keywords of what you are trying to say as a simple reminder of what to say next and give yourself the freedom to express it on stage and share from the heart without having to read long notes.
After you prepare your speech and create precise notes of the main bullet points and stories you want to share, take the time to actually practice giving the speech. Many great speakers practice in front of a mirror. Another helpful way is to practice in front of few friends. This step is crucial because as you practice, you will often find yourself re-organizing the bullet points of your speech or even coming up with more capturing stories and points that you wouldn’t have thought about otherwise. in addition, practicing helps give you a confidence boost which will help make your speaking engagement be more enjoyable for everyone.
One of the greatest tools that will help keep the audience engaged and will more likely make your speech stand out is by presenting visual material for them to look at. Some examples include using a PowerPoint presentation with graphs and images, movie clips, and actual physical objects; for example, Showing your favorite childhood toy that you are sharing about or the new electronic device that you are mentioning in your speech.
One of the most-watched TED Talks with over 26-million views is about the power of positioning your body language. You can watch it by clicking here. Amy Cuddy shares that researches show that taking few minutes to position your posture and stretch out can significantly make you feel more powerful and confident. Adding to positioning your body, I also find that taking few minutes to pray and positioning your mind and emotions can also be extremely helpful.
– Johnny Youssef