Public speaking is part of running a business, though it can make a lot of people really uncomfortable. Whether you’re speaking to employees, vendors, or potential investors, your ability to deliver an effective business speech can make or break your company, so if it makes you nervous, it pays to learn some tricks professional speakers use to do it well.
Drafting an outline beforehand, even if it’s just key phrases in the sequence you want to touch on important ideas, can structure your thoughts and give form to the monologue inside your head. When you have what you want to say down, try writing a rough first draft of how you want to say it. Whether or not you wind up using this exact draft later, it gives you an idea of how your ideas flow into each other and may inspire you to change your approach to something you feel is crowd-friendly.
When you’re organizing your thoughts for the draft, avoid the temptation to go too far in depth on any one topic, but be ready to do so if the audience seems to need it. For instance, imagine you’re giving a speech to maple syrup regulators in Quebec. You need to cover the big stuff, like imports and exports, printing labels in two languages, and the disturbing trend in the States away from pancakes and toward hash browns. Each of these could probably keep you talking for an hour, but you want to hit them all. In fact, your audience might actually want to hear about your label problem. Try prepping a broad outline for each main topic, then prepare a detailed exposition for each, but with the understanding that you’ll only hit those if it seems necessary.
Find points for audience engagement. Your audience can’t help but let you know how your business speech is going, if only from their body language and facial expressions. Try to spot points in your talk where you can ask the audience questions or otherwise get the listeners involved and draw them (and you) deeper into your talk.
Giving an effective business speech can be stressful. Start prepping early, be flexible, and relax. Remember that your audience is rooting for you.