By Mia Hays

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How do you feel about public speaking? Great? Fine? It’s not your favorite? If you can bear it, do it!

Public speaking engagements are an opportunity for you to share your expertise and allow potential clients to experience you and what you have to offer on a more personal level. For more persuasion, read our previous blog titled, “How Will a Speaking Engagement Benefit You?”

Are you convinced but the thought of speaking in front of people still makes you nervous? You’ll do great! Just follow these tips to become a more confident, effective public speaker.

  1. Prepare. This may sound obvious, but I cannot stress this enough. Know your presentation backwards and forwards. To help strengthen your muscle memory, do extra research and look over diagrams. Or, the next time you are speaking to a colleague, bring up your topics in conversation to grow more familiar. Feel like you have it down? Practice again! When the adrenaline kicks in you cannot be too familiar with your presentation.

  2. Watch and listen to yourself. Look in the mirror. Do you look anxious? Do you look like you’re thinking too hard about what you’re saying? Smooth out those thinking lines on your forehead and add a smile. It will go a long way. Then, record yourself. By listening to yourself ahead of time you can correct your verbal short comings. Practice that long awkward word and industry vocabulary. Make sure you vary the inflection in your voice and avoid maintaining the same vocal rhythm or tone or you will be sure to lose your audience’s attention.

  3. Remember to KISS. As the old but valuable cliché goes: Keep It Simple Stupid! Some in your audiences will not have a college degree and/or lifetime experience in the field. Therefore, they do not need, want or care about the intricate details of how your business works. You will put them to sleep or overwhelm them, causing them to absorb next to nothing. Rather, share the big picture and interesting, select statistics to convey your main points and demonstrate how invaluable you are.

  4. Connect with your audience. Make sure your listeners are engaged. Scan the room from time to time, making eye contact with different members of your audience. In addition, look for people nodding, smiling, or taking notes. If everyone looks like they’re dozing off or texting, it’s time to switch up your approach! Personal anecdotes can also make your message more memorable and enjoyable and make you more relatable.

Now, go out there with confidence and show society that you a valuable community member with worthwhile skills to share!