As young entrepreneurs all over the world grab their laptop and bring their ideas to life by hiring freelancers and virtual assistants, many of the top business experts are being asked to speak at conferences to share their expertise. So many of these new business owners are eagerly awaiting the latest growth hack or mistakes to avoid to help them catapult their new venture which means that your presentation will come with a great deal of expectations.
If you have not had much experience speaking in public, don’t worry. The good news is anyone can improve their presentation skills by following a few simple ideas.
Planning Your Presentation
Great entrepreneur public speakers starts with preparation and getting as organized as possible as this will alleviate a lot of headaches down the line. Firstly, a public speaker needs to be clear about why they are delivering the presentation. What do they want or need to achieve? What is the ideal outcome from the presentation? Is it to inform, educate, entertain or inspire, or a combination of some or all of those elements?
For example, maybe your topic will be on your morning rituals or your favorite mobile apps. Whatever topic you decide upon, having a clear idea of the end result will give a general focus to the presentation. Being focused will, in turn, generate more confidence.
Create a Good First Impression
Part of the art of public speaking is thinking about the impression the speaker wants to create. Dress, grooming and general approach will all have an impact on the audience’s first impression of the speaker. Inappropriate dress and poor grooming will tend to distract the audience from the presentation itself.
A good rule is to consider how the audience is likely to dress, and dress slightly more formally. For example, if it’s an in-house presentation and people will be in jeans and casual wear, dress in smart casual clothing. If the audience will be dressed in business suits, the speaker should wear their best business suit.
“It’s important that a speaker also considers the attitude they want to convey” says business coach Dan Jones of the Coaching Institute. “While a presenter should always be authentic and speak as themselves rather than trying to imitate someone else, they can still approach the presentation with a particular attitude in mind. For instance, is it important in the context of the presentation to be authoritative and serious, or friendly and humorous?”
Understand Your Audience
Effective presenters know it’s really all about the audience, and what they will take away. It’s not about the presenter and how important/qualified/famous they are. An effective speaker will do some research about their audience and do their utmost to tailor the presentation to their needs. The audience is, after all, the reason for the presentation.
Details such as number of people in the audience, where they come from and their seniority within their organizations can be helpful in delivering an appropriate, relevant and engaging presentation.
What Type of Presentation?
A good public speaker will be clear from the start about the type of presentation they are delivering. Is it a keynote address to a large audience? How will that affect the expectations of those listening? How long does the speaker have for the presentation? Will there be questions at the end or throughout?
It’s important to establish where the presentation will fall in the overall program. Being the first speaker of the day can be a vastly different experience to delivering the first presentation after lunch, or speaking at the end of the program.
Alternatively, it could be a workshop-style presentation where the audience will interact with the speaker. The presenter needs to consider techniques to get the audience involved, and whether handouts or other material will be needed.
Efficient conference organizers will make it their business to contact speakers and provide background details, but that should never be assumed. It’s the speaker’s responsibility to make sure they have all the right information before they start, and they should not be shy about asking questions.
Doing some mental preparation and a little homework beforehand will greatly enhance a speaker’s ability to deliver great presentations. And that’s before they even open their mouth.