Keep It Short and Simple (KISS)
We’ve all experienced the snore-fest of a long and winding presentation or speech. It may be the self-important colleague, the best man’s endless tales of when Dave used to be fun and single, or the overly detailed, highly technical explanation of the inner workings of the laptop, when all you wanted to know was the price.
We all know what happens next. You get bored, your mind wanders and you start switching off. They’ve lost you.
Avoid any cringe-worthy experiences when you’re next in the spotlight by planning ahead with these 6 tips for simple and concise public speaking.
The slightly more polished version. Use the words and expressions that are authentic to you, and show you’re enthusiasm and knowledge of your topic. If you care about your topic, your audience is far more likely to care too.
You rarely hear complaints about a speech being too short! Mention critically important details, and work your way up to additional details as your audience shows interest, referring to supporting documents and using the Q&A.
Stick to your time limit.
When you rehearse, allow time for pauses, and if that’s what you’re going for, applause and laughter. Respect your audience and other speakers by not throwing the agenda into chaos and running over time.
Prepare short sentences.
Quite simply, they are easier to remember, easier to deliver and easier for your audience to understand. If you need to take a breath mid-sentence, it’s too long!
Aim to be conversational.
Do not use longer words if you know shorter ones, you’re not impressing anyone! Public speaking is a dialogue between you and the audience, so use words that would be natural when chatting in the coffee break. Avoid acronyms and jargon, unless 100% of the audience understand 100% of the words you’re using.
All killer, no filler.
Rehearse until you can present with minimal filler words (um, ahh, to be honest, actually, etc) as this will undermine the audience’s confidence in your message. Instead of a filler word, simply pause. The silence will allow your audience time to absorb what you are saying, and allows you to use emphasis and speak with conviction, i.e. you show you really believe what you are saying.
When you next plan a presentation, rehearse from start to finish and record the whole thing on video. When you watch the video back ask yourself;
"What will I change before I next go live?"
Preparation is key to an effortless looking presentation. As Mark Twain once said;
"I … NEVER COULD MAKE A GOOD IMPROMPTU SPEECH WITHOUT SEVERAL HOURS TO PREPARE IT"
A few thoughtful changes will improve each rehearsal and your final presentation on the day.
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