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Becoming a More Effective Presenter and Public Speaker
As a sales professional, an important skill to master is public speaking and presenting. You simply never know when you may have to pitch to a large audience so being equipped with the necessary skills to control your nerves and deliver your pitch with impact is a necessity.
We've all met them and worked with them - some people are just born to be public speakers.
Many enjoy making speeches in front of large audiences and they take to the stage with relish, no hint of nerves and perfectly deliver the message, leaving to rapturous applause.
However, the majority does not fall into this category but, through these notes, we hope to give you the confidence to overcome your nerves and become an extremely competent public speaker. The notes are aimed at sales professionals looking to improve both their presenting skills and their ability to pitch to a larger audience.
Four General Types of Public Speakers - Which are You?
- The Avoider - Does everything possible to avoid facing an audience. In some cases, avoiders seek careers that do not involve making presentations.
- The Resister - Becomes fearful when asked to speak. This fear may be strong. Resisters may not love to speak in public, but they have no choice. When they speak, they do so with great reluctance.
- The Accepter - Can do presentations but is not that enthusiastic to do them. Accepters occasionally give presentations and feel good about them. Occasionally the presentations can be quite persuasive, and satisfying.
- The Seeker - Always looks for opportunities to speak. Seekers understand that anxiety can be a stimulant that fuels enthusiasm during the presentation. Seekers work hard at building their professional communication skills and self-confidence by speaking often.
Preparing Yourself to Speak
Gain an understanding of who you are. Understand the limits of your own knowledge, capabilities and biases.
Gain an understanding of your audience. You must know what the audience you're presenting to wants to hear.
Gain an understanding of the situation. Consider how the setting of the place and other unforeseen factors could affect the way you deliver your speech.
Anticipate response from the audience. Make sure you have a clear purpose in mind so that the audience will respond in the way you want them to.
Search for other sources of information. There might be more materials available for you to make your speech more colourful. Use graphics, visuals and depending on the audience perhaps even props.
Ensure the validity of your pitch. Make sure that the purpose of your speech is supported by clear and reliable data.
Add structure to your message. organise your ideas and use graphics so that the audience will not have a hard time following and digesting your ideas.
Talk directly to your audience. Make sure the language you are using is one that your audience is comfortable with. Present to every one of the audience and try to have eye contact with each and every one of them - work the floor!
Gain self-confidence through practice. It is only through practice can you effectively present your speech. Master the flow of your presentation by repeatedly rehearsing it. That way, you can have command over your speech.
Eight Basic Steps in Preparing the Speech Itself
Know your topic! Be confident in what you are pitching.
What is the objective - close the sale, propose a solution or to attain a follow-up meeting
What is the right style - formal, formal with visuals, informal, interactive, etc
Analyse your audience - who are you pitching to, how can the pitch be effective to all levels of decision makers.
Plan and organise your main ideas.
Organise your introduction and conclusion.
Prepare an outline and prompt cards (if necessary)
Practice your speech.
Seven Golden Rules to Becoming a Great Public Speaker
Be Respectful to all. Respect the variety of the audience, i.e. don't just pitch to the major decision maker
Listen. Know as much as possible about listening, ensure you know that your audience is listening and be prepared to listen intently to any questions that are raised.
Planning. organise carefully to improve understanding and recall.
Simple Three Staged Format. The Format of a Safe and Solid Presentation - You can't go wrong with a good old fashioned, three staged pitch that follows the old classic 'tell 'em what they're going to hear, say it and then say it again':
Introduction: Capture the attention of your audience, boost their interest, and give them a background of your topic.
Body: Start with your main ideas. Keep them organised and support them with visual and verbal aids as much as possible.
Conclusion: Provide a recap of all your points and join them together in a way that will create an impact on your listeners, making them remember your points. Conclude to close or follow up.
Use language effectively. Keep it short. The simpler the language you use, the more powerful and interesting your speech will be.
Sound natural and enthusiastic. Speak with passion about your products and services, engage the audience.
Use high-quality visual aids and graphics. There is a tremendous amount of free or low-cost resources online now for graphics and photos. For instance, Pixabay, Pexels and more!
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