Public Speaking for Everyone!

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Written with software developers in mind, but not limited to them.

At the end of this article, you will be ready to present your next speech like a pro and master the following:

  • How to become a better public speaker
  • How to overcome barriers to public speaking
  • Tips and tools to help improve your public speaking skills

Being Prepared

  • - Preparation is the success of every presentation, defining the objectives of your speech. This includes preparing your content as well as preparing both mentally and physically. Thinking of speaking in public as a performance, or more precisely as acting out a character can help you focus on the content instead of on yourself.

Defining the Objective of your speech

  • - There are five action words to consider when listing the objectives of your speech.
  • Who
  • How
  • When
  • What
  • Why

Who

Who am I speaking to, how familiar are these people with the subject of my presentation. Are they beginners, mid-level, or professionals? This will help you structure the content of your speech and allow you to find the right words to use in communicating with your audience.

How

Ask yourself how your presentation will be made, is it going to be a physical gathering, a pre-recorded session or a remote presentation. This will help you set up the equipment for the presentation ahead. You need to understand the medium you will be communicating with your audience and make sure every gadget is in order.

When

When do I need to give this presentation, and how long does the presentation has to be? Asking yourself this question puts you in control of the event. You need to know the time and duration of your presentation, timing yourself prepares you to manage the event.

What

What are you going to talk about exactly? This is important to note.

Why

This question follows after the What, when you know what to talk about, the next question should be WHY ME. Why have you been chosen to talk about this subject, what makes you the best to speak about this subject? Are you are expert in the subject? Do you have any experience to share with your audience? This question helps build your confidence in the presentation, it builds you up and places you where you should be.

Tips

  • - I am going to share some of the tips to help you prepare for your next speech

    Make three columns

  • A before column
  • Mid-column
  • After column

In the before column, write down everything you expect your audience should know before the presentation. Think of this as a requirement, if I'm to be in Andela's Bootcamp for instance, I'm expected to have studied the Andela Home Study Curriculum.

In the mid-column, write down the content of your presentation, this is what you are planning to transfer to the audience. Think of this as ingredients, like what I'm going to gain by being part of Andela's Bootcamp.

In the after column, write down everything you want your audience to know or retain at the end of your presentation. Sticking to our examples, I will be a FullStack Developer in Andela by now.

Master your body language

  • Be well centered on stage, let your begs and body be of good posture, body posture sends a lot message to the audience, it can tell when one is tired, not comfortable. Always stand well, and avoid standing with your hands placed on an object for support.
  • Don't make unnecessary movements if not needed, walking without a reason can be distracting to the audience
  • Use the W Direction while moving on the stage, this will help you look at everyone at large while giving your presentation.
for(speaking in public)
{
Look => Speak
LookAgain => SpeakAgain
Repeat
}
  • Remember to smile, smile with your mouth, and also with your eyes. This sends a message to the audience how happy you are to be with them.

Things not to do

  • Don't fold your arms in front or within your back
  • Don't lead on a table or an object
  • Don't look at one person in the room while giving your presentation

Eliminate verbal tics

Language is about what you say, but also how you said it. Linguistic tics are things one repeat endlessly without even been aware of it examples are words like like…, so…, actually, basically, then…, err, clearing one's throats or small intents of breath etc… This affects your speech and somethings sounds so boring to the hearing. How to eliminate them:

  • Use silent pauses and breaths to replace this tics (this works perfectly, just practice it)
  • Use Prefaced synonyms

Delivering a professional presentation

  • -

To deliver a professional speech, you have to learn

  • how to manage your nerves
  • the benefits of elocution and articulation exercises
  • how to stay calm if you make a mistake during a presentation

Don't try to eliminate your nerves we all have it, it is a power to use for good, it reminds you of the energy in you, without those energies, we can do nothing. Find a private place to practice and warm your body. Repeat your first sentence as you are coming up to the stage, this helps you stay on track.

Avoid dry mouth, always stay hydrated before or even while on stage. Keep a bottle of water with you.

On articulation exercises to help you prepare a professional presentation, I love the lists HERE by Andrew Hearle If you have memory loss along with your presentation, it is totally fine, don't feel bad about the situation, calm yourself down, take a breath, and take a little break to recover.

We're all human and the audience will understand your situation, and nobody will judge you for that.

Summary and Key points

  • - Preparation is key to the success of every presentation, make out time to stretch your body, and do some articulation exercises. Always remember to stay hydrated and to mentally repeat your first sentence to help you stay calm under pressure and avoid the worst side effects of stress. Lastly, practice, practice, and practice.

References

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