Any guide to success in an endeavor will tell you that there is no magic formula to success. But in a lot of fields of endeavor, there seem to be « insider secrets ». And taking on the challenge of becoming a truly great public speaker is a noble ambition. But if you could learn the insider secret that makes the difference between good public speakers and great ones, that would help you make that transition.
Actually there is one great secret to what makes speakers that really shine in front of a group so great. But it isn’t magic or something that you can take as a pill and an hour later, presto, you are ready to stand up and dazzle the crowd. It is a very simple process that is something you already know a lot about. It is just simple, old fashioned hard work and preparation.
The further in advance you can start getting ready for a presentation, the better your public speaking will be. You know that feeling of terror that you experience when you address a crowd. Well you may not be able to pinpoint why that feeling comes upon you because who can think when terrified? But many times it comes up because you aren’t completely prepared and you don’t know what to do or how it will go because the material is not as well developed as it should be.
If you put the work in on your presentation, it will make all the difference in the world when you stand up to give your presentation. First of all, make sure the content meets your standards. You should make that speech compelling and fascinating to you. And if that presentation is full of great material that it not only fascinates you but you will be eager to get up there and share what you know with this crowd. And that eagerness to speak is a very refreshing feeling when it replaces that terror you felt when you did not work hard in advance to make sure the material was well developed in advance.
Your audience will notice that big change in your attitude too. Enthusiasm is contagious and if you get up in front of them bubbling with anticipation because what you have to share is just that cool, they will be eager to hear it. It’s like when someone says to you, « Hey, want to know a secret? » You are dying to hear that secret. That is the attitude you will see in your audience when you get up there not only well prepared but excited to tell them what is in that outline.
The more you have that outline and the details of your presentation in your mind, the more confident you will be in front of a crowd. If you have that presentation virtually memorized, when you begin to speak, you will look at your audience more and only have to glance at your outline to stay on track with where you want to be next. That is a terrific skill to develop and huge benefit when speaking to the crowd because you have that material down pat in your mind and you always have a destination throughout your talk.
It will take some work to get to that level of confidence in your material. Rehearsals of your presentation help a lot. Prepare a dynamic opener that puts the problem statement into the minds of the crowd and then proceed to solve that problem. Also know the navigation plan of your presentation and plan the transitions from point to point. That will help you not get stuck in one part of the talk and not have awkward transitions which will make you and then your crowd nervous.
Finally plan how you will conclude. There is a conclusion you want your audience to reach. Make sure you know the critical points and what parts of your talk are « optional » or there for illustration or to fill time. In that way, you know where to cut if time runs short and you will still get to your point and close strong. If your talk has good content, enthusiasm, good points to lead up to solving the problem and closes strong, not only will you feel great about it, your audience will applaud the job you did. And won’t that be a nice way to end a public speaking exercise for you?