Public speaking skills – part one
Public speaking skills are the ones with which we can change our lives and the others’. we present the presentations only for one reason: changing the world.
I hope you can change the world by using public speaking skills in your presentations.
I’ve received many emails recently. People who want to prepare a presentation in a short time and they are in a rush. They don’t have enough time, and they don’t know what to do. So in this article, I want to come up with a solution so that you can be successful in your presentation even if you don’t have enough time.
The first step is to have a filter. You have to have a standard and evaluate everything based on that criterion.
This filter will let somethings to pass and some others not. It’s you who have to design and decide how your filter should be.
What is this filter? It’s only one word: “why?”
We only need to answer this question. “Why do I want to present? What do I want to gain from it?”
Don’t take it for granted. It’s essential to know the presentation’s purpose. If you don’t see the reason for your public speaking, your presentation has no use.
“If you don’t know why you want to present, don’t go for how to do it.”
Nietzsche says: “if you can handle why you are doing something, you can manage how to do it.”
It’s true. If we know why we are doing it, we will find a way to do it.
We mostly have a problem with the “why” filter. Sadly, many speakers don’t know their purpose, and they say: “if I don’t present, I lose my job,” or they want to be a show-off. The result is they can’t focus and try to be their best.
John F. Kennedy says:
“we present the presentations only for one reason: changing the world.”
john f. Kennedy says have a presentation by using the right public speaking skills and change the worldIt’s totally true. We can change the whole world with a presentation and using public speaking skills if we know why we are presenting. The entire world is in our radius of effectiveness. Sometimes we are a speaker in our small organization so we speak only for our five staffs. Even this tiny talk might influence these five people and change their lives.
On the other hand, a famous speaker who is in a higher place in society can affect more people.
The change can be about anything in any ways we can. It doesn’t have to be about success! Someone can talk about the thing he is good at so the world can know about that and progress in that particular specialized topic.
Even if I teach welding, there is still something about it that will change some of our people’s lives. How? I can show how to have fewer casualties, how to have a better outcome and how to do the job faster. These three items will change the world, wouldn’t it? In our radius, of course. Some people can do more and some, less. Some people will affect deeper and some not.
The second step is to open our mind. I made up an expression about it called “presentation file.” Whatever idea comes in your mind, you should write it down, and keep a file. For example, your topic is this. You have to present in the evening. It’s about reporting something to an organization.
You might think you don’t have enough time in the evening. You have a seminar next week. What should you have to do?
Pick up a notebook now and write this: “ideas about reporting presentation.”
Then write whatever comes in your mind. That doesn’t mean we have to write our ideas for four hours or ten minutes. With this method, you can open your mind to everything. You don’t have to think it’s a good idea or bad. Just write them down and then you can organize them.
It can take a month, one week or even one day to write your thoughts. It depends on how we want to design our presentation and how much time we want to spend on it.
Now that you wrote your ideas, there are almost 100 to 500. You indeed can’t perform them all!
We have to use our criterion and filter here. Why do I perform this public speaking? I want to make a change.
Let’s get back to the welding example. The history of welding, methods of welding, how to do it, appropriate tools and so on (of course I don’t know anything about welding, I am just making an example).
Now, why? Because I want people to know how to weld and how to have a better outcome and reduce their cost.
Now you have to evaluate them with your filter. For example, the history of welding is not very important in this presentation. Sadly, most people think they have to talk about the history of their subject. We’ve seen the authors talking about the history of their topic in their books but it’s not essential, and it’s just boring.
Now it’s time to design our presentation based on:
1- Our audience
2- Our time
3- Our priorities
What does “based on the audience” mean?
It means if the audience is professional in welding I have to omit the prologue or if they are amateurs, it’s not necessary to explain the professional tactics which they probably won’t use in 2 or 3 years.
Priorities and time
We might have many relevant topics to talk about but our time is limited. You have to be careful about the timing. You have to talk about the most critical parts. For example, you have 20 minutes. You have to talk about 2 or 3 short topics. Remember they have to be short.
Some speakers choose topics with many details, and each of them needs a session to be explained. We have to pick 2 or 3 points and spend the whole time on them so that the audience understands them better. We don’t have to discuss 20 topics because the audience will forget them all! And don’t think it makes your presentation simple. It’s essential that the audience can learn something.
After priorities and timing, we have to start designing. Which one should go first? And which one last? Should I start with a story or an official prologue? Should I make an example and then explain the topic or vice versa? They are the things you should decide on your own. It doesn’t have a specific formula.
Sometimes the audience will get the point better when you say an example and explain later. This way the topic will be memorable.
One of the most important public speaking skills is to write your script. Speakers divide into two categories here: some use PowerPoint, keynote and so on, some others use texts and papers.
We have to write the notes, topics, and titles we might forget. There is no need to write down the whole presentation, just the tiny parts we might not remember. Because when we write everything, we want to look at our paper all the time and imagine your hand trembles and the paper trembles with it. It will be an embarrassing situation.
We have to write big and readable because when we are presenting, we are nervous. It makes our pupil dilates, and we can’t see the things that are close to us (like our own handwriting).
Another point is we have to write on one paper so that we don’t have to flip the papers and put them from side to side. This way the audience says: “look, he can’t even find his notes.”
One of the most effective public speaking skills is using PowerPoint which I suggest you read “principles of PowerPoint presentation“.
Opening and ending
opening and ending of presentation are crucial to the speaker and the audience as well. So you have to know how to start your presentation.
In the audience’s point of view, the opening of a presentation is the time when he decides to listen to you or not. So you have to impress him the moment you start.
It’s vital to the speakers too. If the speaker starts confidently, he can continue very well, and if he starts with no self-confidence, he messes up the whole presentation.
After we managed all these steps and public speaking skills, it’s time to practice.
Practice 1: practice alone and in your mind
Close your eyes, imagine the exact clothes you want to wear at your presentation, how you walk, the presenter is calling your name. You go up on the stage with the same clothes and makeup. You walk with the same speed you want to and imagine the words you are going to say.
If you have a 20-minute presentation, you have to practice 20 minutes with your eyes closed.
This practice helps a lot because our brain can’t distinguish the difference between reality and imagination. It thinks we are exactly there, the same speech, the same audience, the same sounds in one condition: we have to imagine very well and make it real. This way, when we go to present for real, our brain is familiar with the situation.
Practice 2: rehearsal
In this practice, we practically wear our chosen clothes and try to create the same situation and environment, even go to that salon and train there.
It’s OK if there is no audience there. We can rehearse the whole thing several times. Then we can analyze it. See if it was attractive. See if you can do these actions (walking, shouting, whispering and so on) in this salon and if you can manage your time. Do you forget something? Or perhaps it’s better if you add something in this part of your script.
If we practice several times, we will be more self-confident and less nervous in the real presentation.
Finally, I have to mention that this one article is not enough. And it might not be true for everyone. You may have a particular circumstance. Maybe, you have to give a speech one day out of the blue. In this case, this article about public speaking skills has no use because you couldn’t have prepared yourself. As I said there are many different situations but I gave you some ideas here which I hope you can use or even change based on your situation and have a great presentation.