As an entrepreneur, if you want to position yourself as a business leader in your industry, you are going to need to become proficient at giving presentations. While networking at business events can be highly valuable, nothing skyrockets your status then when you are on stage speaking to the audience. When you are able to share your valuable insights on what makes a successful business, your peers will quickly see you as a go to resource which will open up many more networking opportunities.
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs will avoid this at all costs because they are deathly afraid of having to speak up on stage. But the truth is that fear of public speaking is hardly uncommon – in fact it is one of the first phobias that might spring to mind when trying to recall fears common to the human condition.
Though some of us are born with a natural charisma and may not need much assistance in realm of conversation and oratory – even the most renowned business public speakers need a few pointers and guidance every once in a while.
Prepare Notes and Practice Privately
The most common reason for flubbing a speech is very simple – being unprepared and not having practiced your words at least a few times beforehand. Although nearly everyone will find stress in a looming deadline for a public speaking engagement – it is important to prepare cue cards with a basic narrative for you to look down on and remind yourself of what you might say next.
Another common mistake many speakers and hosts make is to prepare a speech in it’s entirety on a sheet of paper with the intention of either memorizing it, or repeating it verbatim. “It is impossible for most people to memorize a speech of any length, and reading it verbatim is boring, uninteresting, and purely mechanical – devoid of emotion or warmth” says Dan Adams of Motivation Ping.
Make Cue Cards
By preparing between a half-dozen and a dozen vital cue cards that will serve as a mnemonic in order to guide your speech to key points and memories – you will easily be able to expound on these basic hints to tell the story in your own words – lending a personal inflection that shows your feelings and style. You also will not be faced with the pressure of having stumbled over a misread sentence or sweat it out trying to find your place – you will simply be guided by general ideas into a natural conversation with your audience.
Practice Your Speech
Practice your speech, casually, in front of a mirror. In this fashion you will quickly discover details that perhaps should stay unmentioned, distracting body language or verbal tics, and discover which lines work best in delivery. Always be expressive and genuine in your speaking – by showing your personality and sentiment in a speech you will nearly always evoke a positive response in your audience. Practice makes perfect, so be sure to run through your work a few times to be sure to get the kinks out.
Outside Assistance, Birds of a Feather
If you find that private practice and cue cards do not assist you enough to perform well in public, it may be time to consider joining a club of like minded ladies and gentlemen who likewise share your ambition, becoming a proficient and compelling orator. Famously, associations known as Toastmaster’s clubs and societies are common in most major communities – circles of folks who are deeply invested in public speaking as a hobby and as a walk of life.
Toastmasters International is a worldwide organization that shares this positive and empowering communications mantra : “Become the Speaker and Leader You Want to Be”. Highly regarded by professionals and students of the language arts alike, it is an NGO centered around the concept of empowering individuals to become better communicators and trendsetters in their respective communities and social networks. Boasting nearly a quarter-million individual members in 92 countries, any gentleman who might like to make a commitment toward being a more involved and ambitious communicator would do well to consider joining the Toastmasters.
Making a committed and serious effort towards broadening your comfort level, vocabulary, and verbal delivery will surely deliver the results you are looking for – and perhaps make you the life of any party or engagement you might imagine.