Public speaking is an excellent way to drive publicity for your business. By establishing yourself as a subject matter expert in your industry, you can get in front of audiences of people at events around the world. That kind of exposure can result in more business for you.
Of course, it takes time to develop yourself as a public speaker who is good enough that organizations actually want you to address their audiences. Not only do you need to develop your reputation as an expert but you also need to learn how to speak and present information in front of people. No matter how great your content is, if you can’t present it well, no one will listen to you, retain the information they hear, or talk about you positively after the presentation is over.
With that in mind, following are five things you can do to be a better public speaker and drive positive publicity for your business.
1. Become the Expert
To be a good public speaker, you need to know your subject matter up and down, backwards and forwards, and any other way you can imagine. If you don’t know something, learn it before you speak. The best public speakers know so much about their subjects that they can talk about those subjects for hours and hours with the same passion they had when they started.
If you don’t know what you’re talking about and you don’t love what your talking about, that lack of knowledge and passion will show to your audience. If you’re not an expert, then you need to become not just any expert but the expert.
2. Know Your Material
Practice, practice, practice. And then practice some more. And guess what? Then go practice again. You need to know your presentation so well that you barely have to think when you’re actually delivering it.
This way, you can free up your mind to add stories (see #3), additional tips, and maybe even some humor to lighten things up along the way. It also allows you to tailor your speech to your audience whenever you can.
3. Tell Stories and Use Data
Make it easier for people to relate to your presentation by including real life stories. Listeners can apply what you’re saying to their own lives more easily when they hear stories about other people using similar techniques or experiencing similar things. Stories also spice up a fact-filled speech.
Speaking of facts, we live in a world that is obsessed with data. Numbers can provide an extra layer of proof to your content. For the numbers-hungry members of your audience, they’ll sit up and take notice when you start talking about statistics. It’s up to you to marry stories and data to appeal to the wider audiences that you speak to.
4. Be Prepared for Specific Questions
At the end of most presentations, audience members are typically given time to ask the speaker questions. You need to expect to get very specific and personal questions. People will give you a quick explanation of their personal situation related to your subject matter (and sometimes not related to your subject matter) and ask you for specific advice.
It’s important that you’re prepared for these types of questions that can touch on anything and everything related to your actual speech. The best way to prepare is to practice by making up questions or asking friends, colleagues, and family to make up questions for you. Your goal should be to answer in a way that involves the entire audience by providing information that is relevant to more people than just the one who asked the specific question.
5. Take a Video
The best way to be a better public speaker is to take a video of yourself delivering an actual speech in front of an audience. Review the video and try to be as critical as possible. You’ll be amazed at what you see when you watch a video of yourself, and many of the things you need to change will stand out to you in the video.
Your next steps are to review and revise your presentation and then keep on practicing. You’ll get better every time!