Own the room with these 12 public speaking tips

The Outstand Library has plenty of messages to invite clients and prospects to events like meetings, webinars, or just to get together for a presentation over coffee! But what should you do to give them the best experience when they get there?

When you’re making a presentation, keeping your audience engaged is your priority.

Whether you have to prepare a big speech for many people, or you’re speaking on a webinar, we want you to be successful every time you get in front of people! 

Try these tips out the next time you make a speech.

1. Speak in an energetic tone! THIS IS KEY. You should never speak in a plain “reading” voice. Be passionate, and really enunciate your words! It will probably feel a little awkward the first time you try it, but speaking with passion truly helps capture the audience’s attention. When you have their attention, they’ll really follow what you’re saying.

2. Speak with purpose. You are speaking for a reason! Be confident that your audience needs to hear what you are saying—you have the ability to help your audience hear your message.

3. Speak to the audience as individual people. Use phrases such as “how do you feel about that”—don’t use “you all”.

4. Avoid filler words. This means leave out the “ums” and a loud “SO” at the beginning of a new sentence. The less you use expressions like these, the more intelligent and knowledgeable you’ll seem.

5. Be very careful about pauses. Pausing for more than 3 seconds is too long. If you do have to pause, be sure to explain why. You do not want the audience to be focused on thinking “I wonder why they are pausing for so long…”

6. Use the phrase “Pay attention; this is important.” This helps the audience refocus on what you are saying. Audience members can’t help but get distracted occasionally. Bring them back to attention with a gentle reminder.

7. If you have to apologize for something, do it once. Only apologize if a problem is obvious. For example, if you have a stuffy nose because of a cold, apologize once at the beginning of your presentation and then move on. Mentioning it over and over is distracting, if not annoying. If you dwell on it, the audience will likely interpret your presentation as weak. (Note: There is no need to apologize for speaking or for “taking up their time”. You are wasting time by saying that! If you didn’t have a purpose, you would not be speaking — no need to say you’re sorry!)

8. Invite the audience to participate. It is always better to allow your audience to be active rather than passive. A very effective way to do this is to ask a “have you ever…” question, and ask the audience to raise their hands in response.

9. Avoid that mouth-smacking sound. This is a common habit that is often overlooked. Smacking lips or a noisy tongue are very distracting to an audience. Avoid this by not consuming dairy foods or sugar before your speech.

These are a couple of things to keep in mind if you're speaking in a webinar:

10. Position your mic well. A microphone that is too high or too low will make it harder for your audience to understand you.

11. Make sure that there is not anything distracting going on in the background. This refers to anything visually or audibly distracting. For example, make sure that no one will walk in while you’re speaking, that your dog is not barking, and that there’s no clinking ice in your water. The idea is that if your background is simple and calm, your audience will not lose focus on you!

And the most important step if you’re feeling nervous:

12. PRACTICE your speech in a quiet room where you can close the door. A quiet space helps you hear yourself before having to hear yourself in front of others. It also helps you gain confidence with the material you are presenting.

A way to keep the successes coming post-speech is sending a follow up to say thank you for coming. Remind them of the key points of your speech (limit it to 3), and use the best slide in your presentation for the graphic! Use Outstand to put it all together, and send it out to your attendees. 

Here's an example of how the Outstand team does it!