Business Advice

5 Ways to Level up your Public Speaking

Janie Van Hool | 20 October 2021 | 3 years ago

Communication expert, Janie Van Hool specialises in leadership development programmes and executive coaching. 

Agitated, listless, overwhelmed or in a constant state of ‘pandemic flux’; just a few of the many emotional states experienced by us all in recent times. But as a business leader (or owner) your role is to create the mood and atmosphere that inspires your listeners to connect with you and your ideas. You must somehow break through whatever emotion your audience may be feeling and land messages that lead your listeners to a new emotional state on the path to driving your business forward.

Becoming more skilled at public speaking is a life’s work for anyone that needs to influence others. No-one is born a brilliant presenter, but anyone with the dedication and motivation to reach their listeners can enhance their skills. Now developing our capability brings us a new challenge… we must be actors accomplished on both stage and screen. Our public speaking roles now require us to be as good on Zoom as in real life and this ability to flex our style and communicate online as well as in person means we need a more comprehensive toolkit.

Wherever you feel your strengths lie, here are 5 priorities to ensure that you are confidently maximising your communication opportunity and making an impact:

1. It starts with you

Presenting on Zoom or in front of a live audience is not natural to us. We know that the experience of being watched in a live presentation or ‘stared at’ on screen causes psychological arousal… meaning we experience feeling stressed. You can help yourself here by developing a routine that manages your energy.

Firstly, burn off raised adrenaline by taking a brisk 2-minute walk or something physical that raises your heart rate briefly.

Secondly, practice your breathing. Try breathing in for 4, out for 6 through your nose a few times. This will manage stress hormones and raise your dopamine levels to enhance a welcome feeling of well-being.

Make these actions a regular habit so you don’t add to your stress under performance pressure by trying to do something unfamiliar to you.

2. What must they hear?

Write down, or audio-record everything you’d like your listeners to take on board. Then strip it back until you have only one or two priorities to communicate. Speaking opportunities could be better described as listening opportunities – your listeners must be engaged so don’t overload them with information they can’t take in and won’t remember. The best speakers online and in person are the ones who know what to leave out, rather than what to put in. Be brave. Less is more when it comes to landing a message with impact.

3. Give them a reason to listen

Challenge yourself – is what you want to say what your listeners are interested in hearing? Whether in person or online, there is often a big difference between what matters to us as a speaker and the pressing concerns of the people listening to us. You can change this by asking people what’s on their mind, and then letting their priorities shape your presentations accordingly. Start with impact – tell them something, or ask them a question, that will pique interest. Build from there…

4. Get moving

Movement liberates our thinking so whether you are online or on stage, find a way to incorporate movement. If you are online, stand up and allow yourself to gesture expansively to support the emotion in your voice. If you are going to be in person, rehearse your presentation moving around until it feels entirely natural – conversational, even. Our bodies ‘leak’ discomfort, so practice, or rehearsal, helps us to feel familiar and at ease, which raises our confidence levels.

5. Say what you mean, and mean what you say

Your voice is the messenger – especially online – so there must be congruence between what you are saying and how you are saying it. What is your intention? To reassure? To energise? To challenge? Each of these sounds very different. Be intentional about which ‘voice’ you need to carry your message as you plan your content. Then, record yourself on your phone to see if you sound like you mean to. As you listen back, see what needs adjusting and do it again until you feel confident and satisfied with what you hear.

 

Your public speaking skills may be the magic that secures investment, achieves engagement from colleagues and inspires commitment from customers. Most of us want our public speaking to appear natural, and authentic, yet we overlook that appearing effortless as a speaker signals a whole lot of effort behind the scenes! As Aristotle noted, “We are what we continually do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

View presenting as a muscle to flex, and commit to getting fit.

Related Topics

Exploring the Immersive World of VR Development: Applications and Opportunities
25 September 2023

Exploring the Immersive World of VR Development: Applications and Opportunities

Read More →
The Importance of Data Analytics in Making Informed Business Decisions
14 September 2023

The Importance of Data Analytics in Making Informed Business Decisions

Read More →
Financial Planning for Small Business Owners
11 September 2023

Financial Planning for Small Business Owners

Read More →
Navigating Financial Challenges: 5 Tips for SMEs
17 August 2023

Navigating Financial Challenges: 5 Tips for SMEs

Read More →
Eco-Friendly Sustainable Business Practices
8 August 2023

Eco-Friendly Sustainable Business Practices

Read More →
What is Competitive Pricing?
4 August 2023

What is Competitive Pricing?

Read More →

If you enjoy reading our articles,
why not sign up for our newsletter?

We commit to just delivering high-quality material that is specially crafted for our audience.

Join Our Newsletter