Top 5 Public Speaking Tips for Professionals

Let’s be real, you’re not about to deliver the next million-view-TED-Talk. You have to explain a new financial regulation, share a scientific discovery or present to a board. The five quick tips here can help you connect with your audience to more effectively deliver your message.

  1. Know your audience, and your why

Who is in your audience, and what do they hope to gain from listening to you speak? Why does your presentation topic matter to you? Use your answers to these questions craft a strong, relevant message.

2. Remove physical barriers

In a large group presentation, step out from behind the lectern or table. In a small group, close your laptop lid or move it to your side (and ask others to do the same, if feasible).

3. Lighten the mood

Early in your presentation, make a joke, chat about the weather, complain about the traffic, or bring up a positive current event. Showing that you can think on your feet builds camaraderie with your audience.

4. Separate your speaking notes from your presentation

You have a plethora of relevant, timely, CRITICAL information that your audience, if they know what’s good for them, needs. But that doesn’t mean they want you to read from your slides (or even your notes).

Create a hand-out to provide at the end of your presentation, reduce the words on your slides and speak knowledgeably from a few key bullets you’ve prepared for your eyes only.

5. End on time

As great as you are to listen to, most people appreciate sticking to the schedule they were promised at the outset of your meeting or event. Give a final nod of respect to your audience and end on time, if not a few minutes early.

Bonus tip

Practice makes perfect, and if growing your public speaking skills is on your to-do list, we may have a program that can help!

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