By Hassan Motiwala
Fellow and Features Writer
Let’s be honest, public speaking isn’t easy. Not many people are comfortable with having all the attention in the room but the ability to speak to a large audience is important. Most jobs will require presentations of some kind and you have to be able to deliver. Fret not my introverted friends! As someone who would LITERALLY hyperventilate giving presentations, I’ve got some tips to help you ease into the fine art of public speaking.
1. Keep notes with you
An obvious one but there’s nothing wrong with keeping some bullet points on cue cards with you to guide your presentation. Smaller cards are easier to read from, just remember to stick to short phrases or words so you aren’t tempted to just read off the paper. You aren’t a robot (I hope).
2. Take it slow
I know it’s easier to speak really fast to get things over with but we all know you can’t get away with that. It’s a good idea to slow down and then slow done some more. Cover each point of your presentation clearly by dedicating an approximate time to each point.
Instead of umming and uhhhhing, pause to give yourself time to gather your thoughts. Pausing is a powerful tool that can also be used to drive home points and have the audience lingering on your every word.
4. Stare Lovingly?
Okay, so maybe not quite lovingly but you definitely want strong eye contact with your audience. Give each audience member a little bit of love instead of scanning over multiple people. This will make them feel really special and valued.
This ties everything together with a neat bow. Say it with me now; Prepare, prepare, prepare. I’m someone who thrives on improvisation but even I prepare. A flexible structure and good research will be your foundation. Use a mirror to practice getting your personality to show. You’re beautiful, so use that mirror!
I’ll let you in on my personal secret to becoming a confident public speaker; be confident in what you say and how you say it. You’ve researched the topic well and your audience is waiting to hear your thoughts. Remember you have something worth saying and if you believe it, your audience will too.
A good presentation is one that leaves your audience thinking. Your delivery and charisma will leave the biggest impressions, regardless of content. Practice these tips and you’ll be delivering engaging presentations in no time.