Everyone has opinions on how to develop and deliver an engaging speech. And while many public speakers share some great tips, the majority leave out some hidden but powerful rules of successful public speaking.
If you really want to be an effective and successful public speaker, you’ll need to know and follow these 7 unspoken rules:
Much focus and attention is placed on coming across as an authority in your industry. And while knowing your subject matter very well is incredibly important, you should know and be open about what you don’t know as well.
No one expects for you to be perfect and all-knowing. Audiences want someone who is human and transparent, so embrace your limitations and don’t be afraid to share them.
Know Your Topic Inside and Out
This may seem like a contradiction to the first rule but it’s really not. Though you aren’t expected to know all subjects, you are expected to know the topic you are presenting inside and out.
Here’s what I mean.
Let’s say you are giving a presentation on Bitcoin trading – you should be able to share with your audience what it is, why they should be interested, how it will add value (literally) to their life, and how they can get started.
Now let’s say someone, not understanding your topic as well as you, asks how to trade penny stocks. It’s okay for you to say, “I have no idea. I’m not a penny stock expert. I’m a bitcoin trader and can help you get started making an income in the next month.”
You don’t have to know everything about everything, just about the topic you are presenting.
In real life, lessons can be learned through positive (or at least, benign) experiences and negative experiences. For example, a child learns to not touch a hot stove one of two ways: his parents warn him enough times and he eventually listens (benign), or he touches the hot stove, gets a painful burn, and never touches it again.
Negative lessons can be effective in real life, but your presentation should always be positive. Your audience ultimately wants to be inspired by you, not scared. How can you be positive and inspire people? By sharing what you love about your topic. What is it about your topic that inspires you? Chances are, it will inspire the people listening to you as well.
Focus on Sharing Ideas – Not Converting Your Audience
Whether or not you will give a successful presentation has everything to do with your intended goal. In this case, your goal shouldn’t be to convince your audience of anything. It should be to share your ideas in the clearest, most engaging way possible. Simply focus on making your case – your listeners will do what they’re going to do with the information you give them.
Keep it Fresh
We’ve all seen those people who wear the same style of clothing and do their hair the same way for 20 years. The result? They look dated and ridiculous.
Just as it’s important to keep your look updated and fresh, it’s equally important to keep your speech fresh. Giving an effective speech does not mean memorising it and giving it over and over and over again. You will eventually get bored, and, once that happens, you’ll bore your audience to tears, even if it’s the first time they’ve heard it.
Be Prepared – But Be Adaptable
While you should never attempt to memorize your speech word for word, you should know what you’re going to say and know it well. Practice saying your speech out loud. The words don’t have to be the same each time, just the ideas.
When you’re prepared, you’re able to handle things should they go wrong. And things can always go wrong. What if some audience members come in late and cause a bit of a disruption? What if your PowerPoint presentation suddenly fails? What if you get the hiccups? The more prepared you are, the more you’ll be able to adapts to whatever life throws at you.
Know That the Audience Wants You to Succeed
Bad presenters all have one thing in common: they see the audience as the enemy; an enemy that must be defeated.
It’s natural to feel nervous before a presentation and to assume that the audience is just waiting for you to screw up. But those are your nerves talking – not reality.
The truth is, your audience is interested in your topic and hopes to learn from you. They WANT to be inspired. They WANT you to help them change for the better, whether personally, professionally, or financially. They WANT you to succeed so THEY will succeed.
The audience is your friend. Treat them as such and you’ll do great.
You now have 7 powerful secrets to help you become a more successful public speaker. Go forth and inspire the world!