Whether you’re pitching to a small group or delivering a presentation to a large audience, public speaking is an important business skill. While there are many steps to delivering an effective presentation, always begin with the fundamentals: Public Speaking A-B-Cs
A. AUDIENCE – Who are you speaking to?
When preparing a presentation, don’t concern yourself more with the content than the audience, otherwise you’ll end up delivering a one-size-fits-all lecture: better known as a ‘data-dump’. The best way to avoid this is to recognize that a presentation is never about the speaker. It’s always about the audience and the benefit your message has to them.
B. BE BRIEF – Do you need to use all those words?
It’s very common for speakers to use more words than necessary to get a message across, but the audience needs to hear it in a clear and succinct manner. Don’t indulge in your own information. Instead, say only what needs to be said: anything more and you’ll end up validating the phrase Talk is Cheap.
C. COMMUNICATE – Are you being understood?
Speaking is not the only way to communicate. In fact, it’s been said that 90% of communication is non-verbal, so things like body language, gestures, facial expressions, pitch and pace make up the majority of communication.
Even when you’re presenting and doing all the talking, the audience is speaking volumes. When you notice them fidgeting, texting or whispering to their neighbour during your speech, they’ve lost interest. If they’re nodding, taking notes or clapping, they’re engaged.
So the next time you’re asked to present, be sure to notice what the audience is saying (or not saying) to you.
No matter how skilled or novice you are at public speaking, never forget the ABCs!