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Public speaking is for some a horrific prospect. And that is understandable. Stood up and isolated your audience looks expectantly on. And what do they expect? Depending on the occasion different things, however there is a constant, you’ve got to be interesting.
Your audience is expecting you to be interesting. Obviously you might have the added pressures of needing to be knowledgeable or worse, funny. But that should come naturally if you can be interesting; if you can hold the attention of the room of strangers before you you’ve won. Here are six tips that might just help make that happen…
1. Be Like A Boy Scout
There is nothing worse than being unprepared for a public speaking engagement. Be prepared, that’s what a good boy scout does. Unprepared speakers anger their audience. To not prepare for your designated role as focus point for your speaking engagement insults your listeners. That’s not cool, I assure you. Don’t find out the hard way.
2. Stop Selling
It’s a bad idea to sell during a speech. It’s unnecessary, forget sales and focus on being relevant to your audience. Entertaining them in an interesting and pertinent manner is going to be far more beneficial to you than detailing any wonder facts about a product they don’t have or self-help program they’re not currently on. See your audience as people not ‘dollar, dollar bills y’all.’
3. Did You Know…
The power of a great fact shouldn’t be underestimated. People will remember facts, especially if they’re of the cracking variety. Obviously the fact needs to relate to your speech or presentation, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be dry. Here’s an example from a best man speech given about a groom who was a marine biologist, “Did you know a starfish can turn its stomach inside out, Barry told me that? This reminds me, I’d like to tell a story about an evening we once spent together…”
4. I Have No Idea
Ask your audience an unanswerable question. It’s likely they’ll need a little coercing to get them suggesting answers, but it’s a good way of breaking the barrier between you and them. After a few suggestions, tell them you don’t know either. This will further align you with your audience. Then follow this with the reason why the question is relevant to what you’re telling them.
5. Say Nothing
Sounds weird, right? It is, but it can be ever so effective. Confident people don’t mind silence and that’s why you should use it because you’re confident. Nervous people fill silence with meaningless and usually not very coherent babble. Be aware if you do this you’re silence needs to be significant, less than seven seconds and people are more likely to think you’ve forgotten where you were. Do this well though and by the eighth second all eyes in the room will be on you.
6. It’s Been Emotional
Be emotional. This will help people relate to you, which is a seriously important element to success. Take a story about yourself that is relevant to the subject on which you’re talking and tell it. Don’t pick anything too personal, just something that will resonate with your audience.
Tell them about a time you were crazy excited or hugely disappointed; tell them you, laughed tell them you cried. If they feel it, if you can bring out an emotive response in your audience you’re a good public speaker. Go you.
Freddy Jones has been a best man twice and often has to present novelty gift ideas to the powers that be at Find Me A Gift, occasions on which he has relied on his public speaking skills.
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