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10 ways to make your next public speaking obligation less painful

By Salt Lake Chamber | Posted - Aug. 21, 2019 at 9:00 p.m.



Public speaking can strike fear in the hearts of even the most competent, confident professionals. There’s just something about getting up in front of a room full of people that can be unnerving. Instead of dreading your next presentation, think about embracing it.

To that end, below is SmartMouth Communications’ top 10 list of reminders and reassurances to help you get your head in the game!

10. Do your homework.

Nothing drastic, just prepare ahead. If you think through your material rather than wing it, it will reflect well on you.

9. There’s no right or wrong, but there is better and worse.

When in doubt, make decisions about your content, your visuals and the amount of time you’ll take based on your own experiences as an audience member. In other words, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

8. Share the floor.

Figure out ways to engage your audience and create opportunities for dialogue. Present, don’t broadcast.

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7. Whatever you think is noticeable and distracting about you — your voice, hair, nose, whatever — it’s not.

The audience isn’t paying attention to your physical features or your voice quality. They want to feel your confidence and hear your content.

6. Your content may be amazing, but your audience can only digest and retain some of it.

Please prioritize all that great knowledge and information of yours so that you deliver something useful and memorable to your audience.

5. Present, the verb: to give something. Present, the noun: a gift.

Figure out what you can give to your audience that would be a good gift i.e. something new, useful, beneficial, valuable. Give them something good in exchange for their time and attention.

4. Your nerves are just adrenaline.

They are your body’s way of surging positive energy for you to do a good job. Not to worry, studies show that nerves begin to dissipate after two minutes — that’s only 120 seconds.

3. Don’t dread your presentation as if it’s some unpleasant obligation.

Find your ambitious self and embrace your presentation as a great opportunity to advance yourself, your organization or a goal. Go for it, don’t run from it.

2. Be organized.

Know your audience, the lay of the land (number of people, room set-up, microphone or no microphone) as best you can, and your desired outcome for the presentation. The first two help you envision what to expect. The third helps you know how to set the audience’s expectations and where you need to get them by the end.

1. It’s all about them, it’s not about you.

Your audience’s needs and experience supersede your own. Plan your presentation around them, not around yourself or your deep knowledge and expertise. Success is in the eye of the beholder, and that’s your audience. Make them number one.

If you or your employees want to learn more and gain hands-on public speaking experience, attend the Salt Lake Chamber’s Presentation Skills Bootcamp Sept. 6 with Beth Noymer Levine, founder and principal of SmartMouth Communications.

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