That Dreaded PowerPoint Presentation/ Pitch is coming…How To Ace It!?
Public speaking/ Presentation need not be daunting, but if you don’t train and prepare for it, it ought to be then.
“Are you satisfied with the level you’re at now?” – “Can I present/ communicate better?”. Back then, I was a budding speaker, ya sure, I could finish delivering my planned presentation – just regurgitate it right? Whether my audience truly understood is a different matter, I have my stage anxiety problems to handle (“Audience, you help me instead!”).
After one particular business presentation, my supervisor first broached the abovementioned suggestion to me and got me thinking –
1) how can I find a safe place to make mistakes and hone my oratorical skills,
2) how can I keep alive a steadfast desire for self-improvement and growth,
3) how can I achieve breakthroughs and expand my comfort zone
If you are shy & reserved, or if you feel like you can do better at presentation skills…the tips below are exactly designed for you!
#1. Be conscious of your body language. Make sure your body language convey CONFIDENCE!
Body language is more than perfecting the angle or height of your hand gestures or timing your feet positions to the precise details. It begins with the awareness that you have specific body language habits that form part of your unique speaking identity. These habits may be in the form of minor tendencies or major negative habits that need to be addressed early before they become more stubborn to resolve.
If you want the full list of tips – Common Body Language Mistakes for Public Speakers
#2. Make an effort to communicate clearly so that your audience can comprehend you
Here’s a tip: always strive for clarity of the instructions, teaching, explanation of techniques, being imparted to your audience (instead of using high-flown or bombastic words. Imagine this – someone with only foundational English language proficiency can still easily understand you. Avoid giving the “lecture”, especially with extraneous vocabulary.
This is something everyone can do, and should do. Why is the need to speak with clarity and conciseness important, you might ask? Public speaking is getting more and more prominent & prevalent as a result of the development of our digital environment – your Facebook/ Instagram/ TikTok video post (of your speech) can be watched by thousands in the online space! Being clear and succinct makes an impactful and memorable speech, and you certainly want these thousands of online audience to have a favourable impression of your ability to speak.
*Quick tip for Body Language … with the Camera*
Believe it or not, body language is still important even when you are interacting with an online audience. We would go further to suggest that the online set-up allows your audience to possibly scrutinise your body language carefully, especially if you are the main focus of the video. Imagine having to hide your nerves while presenting an idea in an online meeting. Your shaky voice, roving eye contact or shifty hands may betray a lack of confidence in an idea. Learning how to control your body language elements, even while ‘on air’, is definitely crucial.
The three elements of body language we wish to emphasise are your broad eye contact, expansive hand gestures and strong vocal clarity. In terms of eye contact, it is important to adopt a broad, sustained and measured eye contact for the presentation. If you are streaming using your personal device, this will entail a soft focus on the camera on your device. Think of the eye contact effect from the perspective of the audience: when they view their respective screens, your eye contact is already focused on them if you look directly at the camera. The “soft focus” comes into play to avoid a ‘staring’ or ‘unflinching’ look, which may be more uncomfortable or intimidating.
This should be supplemented with open, expansive hand gestures, which are angled towards your virtual audience (instead of extending them from your sides to make yourself look wider). The aim is to give a welcoming or beckoning feeling to draw your virtual audience in. Finally, while microphones or sound condensers can enhance the clarity of your voice, this does not mean that you can simply neglect your natural vocal quality. The necessary vocal qualities such as pronunciation, diction and articulation are still important!
*** Presenting online doesn’t mean you can just reel off (parrot) the slides verbatim without any non-verbal expressions ***
For more tips on this, read our article – Online Communication Tips – How to Sound Confident When Presenting Online?
Now…back to speaking on stage…
Having to stand up in front of a group of strangers and speak for around 15 minutes about something that doesn’t particularly excite you – it can be one of the most daunting things to undertake in life. Don’t worry, there’s even a term for it – Glossophobia – Public speaking is one of the most common fears for people. Fear of public speaking can be a very debilitating condition for some people. It can cause people to avoid many things in life, including making new friends and getting involved in social activities. Also, it can have an impact on your ability to get a job or advance your career. Realizing that you are not the only one with stage fright is the first step in conquering it. At some point in their career, every presenter (yes, even masterful, professional ones) has experienced anxiety before a speech or presentation, and it never completely goes away.
*Quick tip…Know Your Fear Centre*
The first step is to know your stage fright indicators. In short, where do you feel the fear on your body? Here is a simple 3-step blueprint for teasing your indicators out. First, use a low-stakes environment (e.g., small presentation, lower stress) to pick out where your fear tends to appear. Second, create consistency in your observations by journaling your indicators and being aware of how they tend to appear (e.g., stomach discomfort and nervous voice). Third, create immediate awareness of your fear centre, while on the speaking stage itself.
One of our Trainers, for example, shares about how his stage fright indicators featured through his speaking pace. When nervous, he would speed up extensively, affecting the audience’s ability to follow his main message. However, by creating awareness of this stage fright indicator, he was alive to the warning signs of his stage fright setting and was able to apply immediate steps to dilute the stage fright impact (e.g., taking a pause).
Click for full article on Managing Stage Fright – 3 Tips to Conquer Your Public Speaking Fears on Stage | Public Speaking Academy
#3. How To Effectively & Efficiently Rehearse Like A Pro Speaker!
There are methods to lessen the anxiety associated with public speaking, and one of the greatest ways is to develop “reflex-like”/ “muscle-memory” presentation skills – how to achieve that? Practice beforehand and remember that you can produce a strong presentation as long as you are well-prepared.
How To Prepare For Your Speech, Rehearse Like A World Champion
If you’ve ever seen a presentation by a good public speaker, you are aware that there is a distinction between excellent and exceptional. A superb presentation will involve the audience and pique their interest in the subject you are discussing. A compelling presentation may initially pique audience curiosity, but it won’t hold their attention for the duration.
#4. How To Increase Your Speaker’s Value (Engaging and Educating Your Audience)
Being charismatic and enthralling and engaging – you need to give your audience the impression that they are participating in the discussion.
Public Speakers’ Value – How to Enrich your Speaking Impact
Simple actions like gazing at your audience, creating eye contact, and hand gestures will help you achieve this. Your audience is more likely to want to listen to you speak if you are more engaging.
Our Public Speaking Course for kids and Presentation Skills Training Course for adults have a conducive class size less than 20 participants and will provide a lot of hands-on, progressive practical opportunities and proprietary tried and tested materials, created and designed by world champion of public speaking Darren Tay, to enhance learning.
What you or your child/ children will learn:
- Managing Stage Fright (visualisation)
- Command With Your Eye (anchoring)
- Convince With Your Voice (linguistics)
- Convince With Your Body Language (confidence-building)
- Amplify With Hand Gestures (content complementing)
We understand that kids who are shy to speak up usually experience either one of the two fears (or both): 1) psychological side 2) technical side
1) It could be due to a bad experience with speaking to a huge crowd or the fear of being judged by the audience – sound of the voice, appearing perfect in front of others, etc.
2) lack of techniques to think fast on their feet, techniques to capture audience attention and keep the engagement high, etc.
We can help you with that!
If you are keen to take your public speaking skills & presentation skills (either business/corporate presentation / training for presentation to clients / kids in-class presentation) to the next level so that you may communicate and deliver speeches with greater flair and charisma, feel free to check out our public speaking course for adults and public speaking course for kids below!
For more about our (weekly group classes) Public Speaking Courses for Adults :
If you are looking for a 2-day intensive public speaking/ presentation course for adults instead (for our adult learners who can’t do weekends), learn more about our Presentation Skills Training Course here: https://www.publicspeakingacademy.com.sg/presentation-skills-training-course-by-world-champion/
If you are looking for Public Speaking Course for Kids / Children: