In addition to the group training we deliver here at Stratus, I also offer individual coaching sessions to help folk become more confident and competent when public speaking. From holding a large scale presentation seminar right through to a 60-second introductory spiel at a networking meeting, people are now realising that being able to make a great first impression in public is a vital skill – and being able to ‘Blow Your Business Trumpet’ to get your message across to potential clients is invaluable.

Such is the need for some help in this direction that I have been invited to several local networking groups lately to talk about how best to go about improving the presentation of your services or products and your organisation. So having put together some tips I thought, “Why not share some of them with my SST followers?”

Here then, are my failsafe tips for increasing your confidence whether you are speaking for 60 seconds … or 60 minutes!

Feel the fear and do it anyway
Fear of public speaking is the ‘Numero Uno’ fear people share, even people we think are naturally confident. Acknowledging this can help you put it in perspective. Accept it, telling yourself that you are transforming your adrenalin rush into positive energy and passion.
Don’t ‘diss’ yourself … respect your own expertise
Be proud of the fact that you have been asked to talk in public. If your audience wasn’t interested in what you had to say, you wouldn’t be standing (or Zooming) in front of them! Accept their confidence in you and build upon it! View your presentation as an opportunity to share your knowledge and enthusiasm with others.
Scout alert … be prepared
Know your topic, know your audience, and keep the presentation simple. Do not try to regurgitate everything you know. Choosing what they need to know from all that you might tell them is an important part of preparation. Focus on the ‘what’s in it for them’ message. A clear, tight presentation will keep the audience interested. If they are interested, you will feel it, and your confidence will grow.
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
The more you practice, the better you feel. Rehearse using visual aids and props. Allow time for audience reaction, e.g. laughter or answers to your questions. You want to avoid the stress of knowing that you still have a lot to say but the time is nearly up.
Forget ‘hamster thinking’ …
… letting your presentation go round and round in your head like a hamster on a wheel. Before you deliver your speech it is better to focus on other things and relax. Take some deep, diaphragmatic breaths. Just be sure you have remembered your opening line, and if you have rehearsed, the rest will follow.