Public Speaking Tips Blog 2 - During

Getting a presentation pitch perfect: public speaking tips part 2

We all know that nerves are part and parcel of life. We can get nervous wondering if we’ll catch our train on time, we get nervous before exams, and we certainly get nervous before meeting our partner’s parents for the first time.

So, nerves are here to stay, but it’s how we deal with them that can make the difference between the good, the bad and the ugly speech or presentation.

In part 1 of our public speaking blogs, we looked at preparation. Here, in part 2, we look at what to do during a speech, presentation, meeting, or public speaking event to ensure nerves don’t get the better of you. And we also give you tips and techniques to make sure your delivery is spot on and chimes with your audience.

public speaking tips

What to do during a presentation or public speaking event

We’ve said in previous blogs that being good at public speaking is an art everybody should strive to have, whether or not they are called on to deliver presentations.

Every one of us has to speak up at work: in meetings, with colleagues, with managers or to those we manage. So, getting our point across effectively is important.

Five things you should do during a presentation:

  1. Start with a great opener that grabs the attention. This could be an amazing fact, statistic, or anecdote that leads those listening into what you are going to be talking about. It works better to introduce yourself verbally AFTER this.
  2. Slow down, pause, take deep breaths. What to you may seem like a long pause won’t do so to the audience, and this will also help you to calm your nerves. Keep your brain one step ahead of your mouth and not the other way around; if you talk too fast, that’s when you race on and forget what you are saying, mid-flow. Don’t forget, it also gives your audience time to digest what you are saying and enables you to play with dramatic emphasis when appropriate also.
  3. Nerves are part and parcel of public speaking. It is the fight or flight reaction that kicks in but use nerves to your advantage. Adrenaline is caused when we are either really nervous or really excited about something, and the raised heart rate gives you an insight into how all of our senses are in a heightened state, and we are coiled ready to really go for it! So, take it as a positive, and instead of ironically getting nervous about having these “nervous feelings” of adrenaline, know that they are making you the best version of you, and simply learn techniques to manage the adrenaline and use it in the right amounts. When bread needs to be baked at a certain temperature for a certain amount of time, just because the oven CAN go higher, it does not mean it can bake the bread any quicker by using all of the temperature at once…
  4. Treat it as a conversation not a lecture and if you forget some bits, or things go out of order don’t worry: only you will know, the audience won’t. We can all have conversations with other, and when you change your perspective to it being a conversation rather than a lecture you will find it feels much more natural to both you and your audience.
  5. Provide a recap. Don’t end with the Q&A, but afterwards bring your audience back up to peak interest by giving them the one thing you really want them to remember. Say last what you want remembered most.

A word from our founder and MD, Chris Dawes: “One tip I give all clients is not to be too narcissistic. The presentation isn’t about us, it’s about our audience - what we want to tell them and what we want them to learn or take away. If you can think more about them and less about yourself, that will go a long way towards helping you deliver a really good presentation, and you suddenly realise that you haven’t had time to think about your own apprehension.”

In our next blog, we will look at what happens after the event and how to learn and improve.

For help, advice and training in public speaking and presenting, subscribe to receive future tips/advice articles/videos, or to discuss in more detail how we may be able to help you or your organisation, get in touch with the team here at Open Dawes Training.

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