If this article was about the top fears of new training consultants, public speaking would be at the top of the list. For the inexperienced training consultant starting out fresh, the nerves awaken by fear of public speaking can significantly impact the effectiveness of an important presentation. Whether it’s realizing you are rambling on, losing your audience or forgetting your lines, this fear boils down to the fear of being ridiculed and rejected by your peers.
TrainingFolks compiled the following 5 time-tested, public speaking tips that should help prepare even the most fearful training consultant to facilitate their first corporate training program smoothly and confidently.
Understand the importance of who you will be giving the presentation to and the space in which you will be delivering as both factors can create limitations that are important to understand.
Know your audience and their special learning style. To whom are you speaking? If they are new employees, they probably want to learn something about the company. If they are college professors, you can use highly technical terms to get your message across. Know your audience and tailor your presentation and delivery to their specific level and needs. Give them what they want!
Knowing your audience means understanding and respecting their particular needs and idiocrasies. That includes having a keen understanding on the overall learning style characteristics of your audience. The graph below outlines the four learning styles and suggested strategies to utilize while presenting to the respective group.
If you want to overcome nervousness, the first guideline to follow is to simply know what it is you are talking about. Winging it is not a good idea!! While going with the flow and being flexible is smart, trusting yourself to be brilliant enough to not properly prepare is something even the pros don't attempt. Educate yourself on the topic as much as possible by researching online, in the library and internal resources. Research it until you feel you can hold an engaging conversation about it with an expert on the subject. Once you reach this authoritative status, your audience is going to want to learn what they can from you about this topic and you will naturally become more confident educating others about it.
Depending on the learning style of your audience, the inclusion of audio and video techniques can positively impact the effectiveness of the presentation, including increased audience engagement and retention. Using such techniques as PowerPoint, whiteboards, flipcharts or handouts during a presentation can help a training consultant communicate complex ideas more effectively and enhance the overall look and feel of the presentation.
For tips and a FREE Top 16 Audio/Video Techniques Checklist, read our blog titled "16 Visual Presentation Techniques Used by Top Learning Consultants".
You might have the best speech ever written, but if no one can understand what you're saying, it doesn't matter. Nervous speakers tend to have shaky voices and talk at a lightning speed, making it difficult for audience members to follow along or even remain interested. Pace yourself and remember to speak at a normal, or even slightly slower, pace when you're speaking publicly.
Use voice modulation to enhance the delivery of the message. Try using animated gestures and expressions as you use your tone of voice to highlight key points.
VOLUME: Increase by 25%
PACE: Vary your speed
PAUSING: “Almost everyone, Alison, has given to the United Way.”
Try reading the above sentence with no pauses. Now, read it out loud again while pausing after “everyone”, then again after “Alison”. Do you have a greater understanding if the meaning of the sentence? The answer is probably yes. Remember to pause at key points throughout your presentation as this adds tremendously to the delivery.
EMPHASIS: “I didn’t say I saw him steal the money.”
Let’s try another exercise. Read the above sentence while:
As you read out this sentence several times, it becomes clear that the meaning of the sentence changes as you emphasize different words. Remembering the impact emphasis has on the delivery of a message during your presentation is key.
People trust people who look them in the eye. Looking at your audience as you speak to them will have you appear more trustworthy, confident and prepared. Maintaining eye contact as you present carries with it many powerful effects. For starters, your audience will trust you more, which will put them at ease, allowing you to take greater command of the room. It will also help you determine how engaged your audience is or indicate if you need to elaborate more on a specific topic. Don’t look at the floor -- there's nothing down there.