Although a successful entrepreneur must be able to wear many hats, plenty of business leaders lack the confidence and cadence necessary to be effective at public speaking. This is a common fear among a large portion of the population, but fortunately there are a few simple steps that anyone can take to become more comfortable with the thought of addressing crowds.
Preparation is Key
The adage “practice makes perfect” is not technically accurate, but it is clear that the more a person prepares for public speaking, the more auspicious that process will become. Anyone trying to become a better public speaker should practice the speech several times, which can help reduce the feelings of anxiety and dread prior to taking the stage.
Identify With the Audience
When crafting remarks for a speech, entrepreneurs should know as much as possible about who will be in the audience. The tone, language, and even length of a speech might vary considerably depending on whether the audience is filled with employees, potential investors, or colleagues.
In addition to practicing the speech in its entirety, effective orators ensure that the flow of any speech is optimized to include a strong opening statement, a coherent theme, several easily identifiable points, and a memorable closing line.
Adapt on the Fly
As much as an entrepreneur might practice in front of a mirror or with a close group of advisers, nothing will compare to actually looking out into the eyes of the audience. If it seems that people are beginning to lose interest, it might be wise to have a joke or non sequitur ready to grab their attention.
Be Comfortable In Your Skin
No speech is perfect, but the most effective ones come from a speaker who lets a bit of personality shine through. This might include autobiographical anecdotes or humorous stories, but no public speaker should rely on dry and impersonal words to do the trick.
No one wants to hear a dull speech being read directly from a script. Using a loose outline instead of prepared remarks can increase the comfort level for the speaker and audience alike.