Take the mic: 5 top tips to become a confident speaker » SMEInsider

Take the mic: 5 top tips to become a confident speaker

Technology may be revolutionising the way entrepreneurs market and sell their services, but one thing it can’t do is speak to hundreds of people during an exhibition or trade show. Being able to speak confidently to a crowd is a skill that every SME owner should have, so here are five ways you can master your next speech.

Tailor your speech

In order to make yourself feel more at ease, you should put a lot of research and preparation into your speech before you get up on that stage.

To make your address as relevant and enjoyable as possible, you should insert funny anecdotes and your own experiences in the industry you’re talking about, which will make both yourself and your audience feel comfortable and engaged.

Be upbeat

Taking on a positive attitude is vital to pulling off a successful presentation, according to TED speaker Julian Treasure.

By practicing in front of a mirror or family and friends, you can fine tune your speaking voice and the way you conduct yourself, making your audience feel relaxed and in the mood for your presentation.

Use visual aids

At around the 10-15 minute mark, your audience may start to be looking at the clock and wondering what to have for lunch. Don’t worry; you can claw back their attention using visual aids. Being animated and lively with your speech will keep their attention from wandering off and help build your confidence.

Insert a funny joke or picture into your presentation, whether it’s via a power-point or your handout version. This way, you will be providing some light entertainment, while at the same time knowing that the boardroom is actually following with your presentation.

Work on your voice

You can choose the perfect words, the ultimate phrases and time it to perfection, but your speech won’t count for anything if no one can hear you.

Perfecting the volume and tone of your voice will really help get your message across to your audience. Sharpen your address by practicing in front of family in friends. They can give you help feedback and can tell you when to raise or lower your voice.

Stop using PowerPoint!

According to Richard Branson, PowerPoint is dead. The presentation tool of choice for many may just be losing its pulling power, with the Virgin owner claiming that the method is overused and it bores most people to tears.

If you’re looking for another way to attract your audience’s attention, Branson recommends using a flipchart and coloured pens, as it enables him to be creative, spontaneous and it allows him to engage and react to his audience.