I have listened to the speeches of many top public speakers in the world. This has motivated me to compile a list of 20 speaking and presentation skills every speaker must have. This article is for would-be speakers, and those who are already engrossed in the world of public speaking.
Every public speaker is expected to:
Research a topic- nobody speaks from nowhere. One of the qualities of great public speakers is the ability to research their subjects very well.
Focus- your listeners should be focused on what you are saying. So, fine-tune your speech with anecdotes, quotes, humour, stories, and other side-attractions.
Your speech should be logical– as a speaker, you must present a well-organized presentation. It should be filled with wonderful ideas, ideas rule the world.
Use facts, statistics and quotations appropriately– don’t just use them for the sake of using them, instead they must be relevant to your arguments. Your speech must be a reference point. These things can be effectively used to complement your ideas.
Begin or round up with a story– most great speakers always begin or end their speech with an appropriate story that will speak to the minds and hearts of the audience. Everybody loves listening to a story. So, make your speech unique with the type of story you tell.
Make your first and last word to be strong- yes, they should be strong so that even if your audience did not remember anything, they will remember your first and last speech.
Dot your words with gestures- in the middle of the speech; try to punctuate your words with useful gestures. For example, if you tell them that the man is big, describe with your arms how big he was.
Use 3-dimensional space– do not chain yourself to the lectern always. Doing so will limit your passion and energy. Try as much as possible to lose the notes as well as the chain.
Analyze your audience- you need to know the type of audience you will be talking to, and tell them the message they want to hear. For example, if your audience are business students, then what you are talking to them should be related to business. If you are interested to learn more about this, check out some presentation courses. Don’t go and start discussing religion with them. Doing so will kill their interests.
Interact with your audience- at intervals, try and ask questions, and expect their answers. This helps to reinvigorate the zeal and interest in your speech. Your speech should be a dialogue. The question and answer session proves that you are indeed productive and that you are gifted in engaging the audience productively.
Customize your presentation to fit the time- one of the marks of a great public speaker is the ability to obey time constraints. If you are looking for quality public speaking training, be sure to have a look around to see what is near you. However in the meantime, have a practice yourself. If you will be speaking for 1-hour, try to customize your speech to fit the given time. Please respect your listeners by not encroaching into their time.
Show confidence and poise- most speakers lack these two essential qualities. If you lack them, your audience might be gifted to sense that. Your presentation must be motivational and highly inspiring.