Want to improve your Public Speaking and WOW the crowd at your next meeting?
“Of Course,” you may say, “but I don’t have time to join a public speaking group, so what can I do to shake my nerves and improve my skills?”
I recently had the opportunity to jump on a training webinar with my friend, Ray Higdon, where he spent almost two hours showering us with his secrets and tips to Better Public Speaking. I cut this short video to help those in a real hurry consider my top three tips from the training.
Tip #1 for Better Public Speaking: Stance or Posture
When you are in front of a small group (even just one or two people), your Posture is very much part of your public speaking presentation. When you speak to larger groups, especially from a stage, you think of this as more of your Stance. Your Stance is the way you stand and move during the speech. For example, you don’t want to walk back and forth across the stage so that it appears you are pacing in a hospital waiting room. This will make your audience nervous. However, you do want to move to both the left and right sides of the room, as you move from one point to another. While presenting your speech, you do this methodically, and in a determined way. Use your positive body language to affirm your confidence and openness to the audience. Extended arms with hands open, and your fingers pointing toward the audience uses body language to covey these important messages. This will also help them to perceive you as honest and trustworthy. (Open hands aren’t hiding trickery.)
Let’s go back to that smaller group for a moment. In network marketing, and all types of sales, your posture is often discussed, but not your stance. Both are important, and they are closely related. The main difference is that you may be sitting while making a presentation to a very small group of 1-3 people. In this case you may make them uneasy if you were to stand, so sitting may be more appropriate (every situation is different, you have to judge each instance separately). When sitting, you would rely mostly on your posture. Utilizing a combination of body language and word choice and delivery, you control the tempo of the conversation. You are always confident and convey your belief in your system so that they are certain they can duplicate your efforts, and therefore, your success.
Think of your childhood when your parents said, “Sit up straight.” This was posture in a very simple view. You should still sit up straight, by the way. You may have also learned some tips on stance in school. If a teacher helped you with how you stood or spoke when presenting a paper or project, he or she was helping with your stance.
Tip #2 for Better Public Speaking: Deliberate Pauses
One of the first things you learn when taking a Public Speaking class is to become aware of bridge words or fillers when you speak. “Ahh, umm, okay, then, so….” You get the idea! It’s so hard to break the habit of saying these words that have become part of your personal communication delivery system. However, if you spend a little time just becoming aware of them, it’s a start. I recently discovered (to my great surprise!) that I use the word “so” A LOT when I’m speaking or delivering a presentation. It’s my segue-way word of choice – apparently. Something to add to my list of “things to work on,” as I continue to develop my entrepreneurial muscles.
Instead of this filler language, work on the habit of inserting deliberate pauses in your delivery. A simple (and very brief) moment of silence to help your audience absorb the point you just made before you charge into the next one. This helps to segment the presentation for your audience, and allows their brains to put a period at the end of that concept, and prepare to receive the next one. This one change will help to make you better than the vast majority of those who are speaking and presenting to groups. Start with one important point in your speech or presentation, maybe when you are transitioning from presentation of the benefits of your product or service to asking for the sale. It’s a great place to start!
Tip #3 for Better Public Speaking: Create The Energy You Desire
Ray actually gives a lot of credit for this one to Brendon Burchard, who is a great motivational speaker and trainer. (You will find links at the bottom of this post to find both of their websites.)
We’ve all been there: you enter a room, and can feel the deflation. There are just enough nay-sayers or skeptics there to make a wisp of negative energy radiate from the crowd. This is especially common in a network marketing home meeting situation. Other common professional examples are speaking about a new sales system to a group of seasoned reps or, really, presenting anything new and unknown to any group that doesn’t already know, like and trust you on some level.
The solution? You create the energy you desire in the room for this presentation. Ray used an example of a meeting in someone’s home where the husband was negative, and had invited friends over to mock and disrupt the meeting. He turned the crowd so effectively with his presentation that some of the husband’s friends actually joined that night! You are in charge – don’t ever give someone in the audience, no matter how small it is, that power. You must retain the power of crowd control to retain energy control. Then, you use your posture and stance to convey your belief and conviction in what you are presenting.
In Conclusion, how do we wrap these things into a cohesive package for better public speaking?
With over twenty years in sales and marketing, I have made hundreds of one-on-one presentations, and spoken in front of hundreds at meetings and events. In my sales background, we often talked in terms of public speaking or presenting to an audience for a specific campaign, and we always wanted to “Put A Bow On It.” This simply means packaging all the pertinent details of the sales and marketing strategy so that there are no unanswered questions regarding product, priorities, or execution. This is a great approach to public speaking, especially if you are persuading a group to take an action, like purchase a product or join an opportunity.
Stay on topic. Be very clear in your message, and leave no doubt in the room that you mean everything you say, and are authentic and transparent in your business practices. This will naturally guide the audience to like and trust you – as much as is possible in the allotted time you have on stage. Use a little humor to disarm them, and show that you are not a robot, but just as human and flawed as they are. Practice your Stance and Posture throughout the speech. Deliberately pause when you transition from one topic to another, or when you need to highlight a point during the speech.
Finally…Public Speaking is about putting on a show to some extent, so Be a Peacock! [Watch the Video.] Create the Energy that you desire in the room, whether it’s someone’s living room, or an auditorium of thousands. Convey the confidence and belief that you hold to the crowd so they have no doubt that they can duplicate your success with the information or products you are presenting to them.
I hope you found this post helpful, and that you “knock it out of the park” on your next speech!
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Watch the video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/e6Zo_5uEcGY
Ray Higdon’s website: RayHigdon.com
(Ray offers a Public Speaking course – you can find it on his site.)
Brendon Burchard’s website: BrendonBurchard.com