Here we have Soup du Journalism’s first ever guest post! Journalists need to be able to speak out in front of people, whether it’s pitching an article or branching out into broadcast journalism, so check out these tips from SdJ’s first guest blogger!
From an experienced professional speaker, learn about ways to make sure your speech engages your audience and keeps them coming back for more.
Whether you need to give a public speech on behalf of your business, or you are looking to break into the work of professional speaking, anyone can learn to give a captivating talk to an audience. However, speaking in public tops the list as one of our most recognized fears, so for many addressing a crowd is not a trait that comes naturally. When preparing a presentation or training, here are some tips for easing the nerves and performing at your best.
Do your homework
- What is the audience’s average age and gender?
- What do they do for a living?
- How large will your audience be?
Practice, practice, practice!
- Give your talk in front of the mirror, taking note of your facial expressions and body language
- Practice your talk in front of a trustworthy loved one who will give you honest feedback
- Time yourself several times for accuracy and taking into account nerves
Engage your Audience
- Create a catching title to spark interest right off the bat
- Consider the pacing, pausing, volume and the tone of you speech
- Vary your style to keep them engaged
- Inject humor into the value of the talk (your attendees will learn 45% more!)
- Prepare more material than you will need in case your timing is off
- Answer your own questions if need be – some audiences simply will not play along
Finish with a call to action
- Hand out business cards, flyers, brochures when your speech is finished
- Include an incentive, like a discount or free gift if they contact you within a month
- Make sure all handouts include name, phone, email, website etc
Speaking in front of an audience is a performance and performances take lots of preparation and practice. An actor would not take the stage without rehearsing his lines, timing, inflection and emotion, and so public speakers should not either. The best piece of advice anyone can give you when preparing for a public talk is:
Speak, speak and speak again!
Carol S. Ritter is an accomplished public speaker, and member of the National Speakers Association of Philadelphia which is a membership organization putting professional speakers of all levels together to teach, learn and inspire one another. To learn more please visit the NSA Philadelphia website.