event planning

Public Speaking Tips for Corporate Thought Leaders

public speaking tips

If you’re the face of your business, your agenda will include public speaking from time to time.

While a few people love taking center stage, most approach it with varying degrees of trepidation. According to HealthCentral, glossophobia (the fear of public speaking) affects up to three-quarters of the population.

Fortunately, with time and practice, most people can quell their fears and become competent public speakers. So read on as we discuss how corporate thought leaders can get comfortable in front of an audience, and we’ll share some tips on how to deliver more engaging presentations.

Getting Comfortable With Public Speaking

An impromptu toast at a friend’s wedding. Voicing your opinion at a city council meeting. An open-mic night at your favorite “where everybody knows your name” watering hole. Believe it or not, any of these things is a chance to make you a more competent public speaker over time.

If you don’t have time for a slow ramp-up, however, these quick tips can help you get through a speech without a massive meltdown.

1. Take Good Notes

Most novice speakers won’t go into an event blind — they’ll have time to prepare. But you don’t want to look like you’re reading from a script.

The key is to prepare good notes that will keep you on track but still allow you some space to improvise a bit, too.

Use a 3×5 notecard to limit yourself to a brief outline and some key talking points. This kind of aid can be a lifesaver if you lose your train of thought in the middle of the speech, but it will also keep you from sounding like a robot, too.

2. Enlist a Test Audience

Before you deliver your speech, take time to practice — preferably in front of family or friends. There’s little risk of embarrassment, and they can provide feedback to help you improve.

You can also either record your own practice runs on video or have someone else do it so you can watch your performance yourself and see it from the audience’s perspective.

3. Get Familiar with the Location and Equipment

If possible, visit the venue you’ll be presenting at a day or two in advance. This will give you a feel for the size and layout of the location, and provide you some more familiarity, which makes some people more comfortable with speaking there.

Also, if you’ll be using any audio/visual equipment, now is the time to take it for a test drive so you don’t have to fumble with it the day of the event.

Techniques for Delivering Engaging Presentations

1. Know Your Audience

If you’re going to speak in front of a group of people, you’d better know something about that group of people. Are they a happy-go-lucky bunch of brand advocates who are there to help you celebrate a milestone? Industry peers there to hear some of your subject expertise? A group of potential investors who want to hear how you achieved record profits?

You can’t treat every audience the same. Delivering a speech to one that’s more suited to the other can cause you to fall flat, no matter how well you’ve prepared.

2. Stay Flexible

No matter who your audience is, you need to be able to adapt to them in real-time.

Are they zoning out? Shuffling in their seats? Even yawning? Unless it’s 6 a.m. or midnight, that’s a clear-cut signal to either change the subject or your delivery.

Conversely, if the audience is hanging on to every word of a certain talking point, you might want to consider allocating a bit more time discussing it than you had originally planned.

3. Capture Their Attention from the Get-Go

Just like every good news story needs a captivating headline, every good speech needs a captivating opening. If you don’t grip them from the beginning, chances are good you’re not going to grip them at all.

One caveat: There’s a fine line between hypnotizing and hokey. Make sure your opening makes sense in the context of your speech. Appearing on stage in a cloud of smoke can cause quite the stir if you’re a special effects company … but not so much if you’re there to talk about reverse mortgages.

Are You Ready for Your Public Speaking Debut?

Public speaking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who want to be seen as corporate thought leaders, it’s a necessary part of the game. The more you do it, the easier it gets!

Do you need more ways to shine a spotlight on your business? Mischa Communications has exactly what it takes to get your audience to sit up and take notice. Let’s get the conversation started!