Whether it's for an intimate meeting or a huge conference, public speaking requires practice, and there is always room for improvement. Fortunately, there are a few tried-and-true ways to get ahead of the game.
This week, we’re taking pointers from Bill McGowan, Founder and CEO of Clarity Media Group, public speaking expert, and author of Pitch Perfect. We recently had the privilege of attending his talk at General Assembly, and also purchased his book!
Our favorite take-aways:
Don’t buy time with the phrase: “That’s a great question.” Too often, it’s used to stall or flatter, and people can see right through it. According to McGowan, this phrase is as outdated as telling speakers to envision the audience in their underwear.
Vary your delivery. Switch up the 3 P’s - that is, your pitch, pace, and projection. When delivering a key point, help it stick by slowing down, pausing, or changing your volume.
Never start your presentation with an apology. Whether it’s 9 am and you’re the first session of the day, or 1 pm and the crowd is in a post-lunch slump, don’t feel like you need to preface your talk with a “I promise to keep this exciting…” or “I just want to take a little bit of your time.”
Don't sweat the details. If something happened two years ago instead of three, don't worry about backtracking and correcting yourself. Press on, or you'll lose momentum - and audience interest.
Stop wasting time with sign posts. That is, there's no need to begin your talk with a preview and/or give a recap afterwards. As McGowan says, don't tell your audience what you're going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them. Instead, dive right in!
For more tips, check out Top Tips for Effective Presentations.