- Record yourself
- Ask people to give you honest feedback
- Familiarize yourself with the venue
- Slow your heart rate
Let me ask you a question. If you were a soccer player who is aware of a very important match starting in a week, would you do some training beforehand?
Same goes with presenting in public. Noah Zandan, behavioral scientist, estimated he spent nearly 100 hours writing, rewriting, and rehearsing the talk for a TEDx event.
Although you don’t need to devote such a long time to every speaking engagement, it’s worth knowing that good preparation plays a crucial role for a successful speech.
Most people unfortunately don’t work on their delivery, focussing on the content instead. As a result, the audience doesn’t listen to them.
They become just one of those many speakers whose audience can’t wait for them to finish.
Good preparation can really make you stand out from the crowd. If you carefully work on your speech, nothing can stop you from presenting in a charming way that is rarely experienced by presenters.
Moreover, you will know how to:
- hook the audience
- make the speech unforgettable
Therefore, let’s share 4 simple, but yet very powerful and effective preparing strategies. They are used by the world’s most famous people like Steve Jobs or John F. Kennedy for enhancing every single speech they ever had.
I know this may sound so scary to you. But trust me, this is one of the most useful public speaking tips you can get.
Many people feel embarrassed looking and listening to themselves, and that’s ok. In fact it’s not your fault at all.
There are three key reasons that cause you dislike seeing yourself recorded:
- you never had the opportunity or simply a need to do so
- in most cases, you are the one who watches others presenting
- observing yourself on camera doesn’t come by nature, so you may look and speak differently than you think
However, watching yourself will definitely help you catch the pain points, in order to work on their improvements.
So, next time you prepare to speak, do the following:
- record a section or the entire speech by any appropriate device like webcam or cellphone; Watch and listen to it carefully
- outline both positive and negative things about your presenting in separate columns
- in each of your next rehearsals, work on every single critique you noticed one by one
- do this until you are satisfied with the entire speech or presentation
Ask people to give you honest feedback
This is easier than it seems.
You just need to gather several trustworthy people and kindly ask if they can follow your speech and give their personal opinion.
You should however tend to make your testing audience as similar as possible to the real one, which is going to put their eyes and ears on you.
For instance, if you plan to speak in front of your managers or directors, have your colleagues review your delivery.
In case you pitch the startup to investors, it would be perfect to be evaluated by a person who is the investor as well , and so on.
Familiarize yourself with the venue
Try to visit the place where you are expected to speak such as: Conference room, classroom, and even the office before presenting. Walk around and feel the space.
Ideally, practice your speech at least once in this environment. It will help you explore the vibe and equipment being used in advance.
Slow your heart rate
Fast heart rate often appears as a consequence of public speaking fear and adrenaline, a hormone released into your body in stressful situations.
However, you can slow your heart rate and reduce public speaking fear just with breathing.
When you notice your heart rate increasing, Close your mouth and nose, raising the pressure in your chest. Release nostrils and Inhale for 5-8 seconds. Hold your breath for 3-5 seconds, and exhale slowly for another 10-15 seconds. Repeat this exercise until your heart rate starts decreasing.
To sum up, consider implementing certain, or even better all of those things when preparing for the next speech or presentation:
- recording yourself
- asking people to give you honest feedback
- getting to know the space where you five the speech
- slowing your heart rate with breathing
I personally always do a few records of my presentation and do my best to visit the room where my speaking engagement will take place.
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