Want to present well and excel at public speaking?

Posted on May 3rd, by Dr Rob Yeung . 1 Comment

Apparently more people are afraid of having to speak in public or give a presentation than are scared of snakes or spiders!

Having written a book on public speaking and presentations and run training courses on it, here are my five top tips for giving great presentations:

  • Tell a story to illustrate your main point. Audiences hate being bombarded by numbers. So think of an anecdote you can share to personalise what you’re saying.
  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! A lot of great presenters make it look easy, but what they often don’t tell you is that they’ve actually practised and practised their talk over and over again.
  • Remember that people can’t see how nervous you may be feeling. Sure, your mouth may feel dry and your heart may be hammering in your chest, but your audience can’t see that. So long as you speak clearly and sound confident, your audience will think that you are confident.
  • Memorise your introduction. By all means use note cards or even write out your script in full, but try to memorise at least the first few minutes of your speech. That way, you can get off to a good start by making eye contact just for the first few minutes and build a rapport with your audience.
  • Don’t just read your presentation. Bear in mind that a presentation is as much about entertaining and engaging an audience as educating them. So think about your body language. Feel free to move around when you speak. And introduce variety into your voice to sound more interesting.

If you’d like more advice about public speaking and presentations, you can hear an interview I did a while ago on BBC Radio 2. The producers at the radio station asked me to talk on The Jeremy Vine Show (although he was away so the show was hosted by fellow presenter Matthew Bannister). In the second-half of the show, we did a live phone-in and I gave advice to callers in lots of different situations – including giving speeches at work, wedding speeches, a eulogy at a funeral and how to run a training course. Hopefully you might pick up a few tips on how to get better at giving speeches and presentations too.

Click the green play button below to hear the full broadcast.

One Response to “Want to present well and excel at public speaking?”

  1. J.H. says:

    Of course it’s a good idea to rehearse and practice practice practice but that’s not always practical under modern day time constraints. Your third point is a good reminder. But perhaps the best piece of advice is your first point: sharing a funny, surprising or tragic anecdote is surely one of the best ways to start a presentation and draw an audience in.

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