On the subject of public speaking, Franklin D. Roosevelt said “Be sincere, be brief, be seated”. I say use the Four Ps:
1. Be Positive
Our thoughts dictate our behaviour. So use positive self-talk (“I am going to give a powerful presentation”) and visualisation (imaging applauding audiences) to prepare yourself mentally.
Preparation is key! Spend time identifying the purpose of your presentation, as well as your audience. Will they be receptive to your topic? Who are they? (eg: experience, knowledge, age, background).
What is the topic of your presentation? What are the key ideas? (Between 3 and 7 key ideas, depending on the length of your presentation.) What are the supporting points for each key idea? How will you link the points/ideas (transitions)? Is your opening (introduction) clear and closing (conclusion) strong?
This doesn’t mean learning your speech off by heart – use key phrases and your slides to guide you. Practice the pace and tone of your voice, and where to pause and where to emphasis a point. Time your presentation so you don’t go over your allotted slot.
A final thought
To add power to your word, use the rule of three (eg: one main idea and three supporting points).Some of the most memorable historic phrases use this rule:
“Liberté, égalité, fraternité”
“Of the people, by the people and for the people.”
“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”