As a small business owner, public speaking comes with the territory. Developing and refining your public speaking skills takes time, practice, and experience. After you get a few presentations out of the way, you should be able to overcome those initial jitters. Now it’s time to take your talks to the next level. Here are some tips to help you really nail your next presentation.
Share Personal Stories
You may be tempted to stick with the basic facts as a sort of safety net, but branching out from the book really helps you engage your audience more effectively. Connect with people by sharing relevant, personal stories. Your first instinct is likely to be to talk about your successes, and that’s fine, but also feel free to talk about times when you failed. Sharing anecdotes about failure makes you more human and relatable, and it helps you provide valuable examples that work as learning tools. After all, the people are there to learn, and often failures teach more than successes.
Highlight Your Talk with Slides
When you’re giving a presentation, you’re naturally focused on your words and body language. Incorporating visuals is a great way to highlight important points while removing some of the pressure from you. At the same time, try not to use slides as a crutch. Instead, use them to supplement your presentation, ensuring each slide adds value. Avoid generic stock photos, instead opting for highly relevant content created specifically for that presentation. Your audience appreciates the effort, and it makes your talk much more memorable.
Instead of simply standing up and talking at your audience, involve them. Start by giving your presentation, but make sure you allow time to answer questions and engage with the people who are there to see you. A good discussion can help both you and your audience gain new perspectives and form more well-rounded opinions. Try to find a balance between acting as the leader of the discussion and still giving other people a voice. You may need to moderate the presentation at times, but try not to silence people unless it’s absolute necessary, in which case always be polite but firm. If necessary, offer to continue discussions after the presentation or via email.
Provide New Information
Nobody wants to listen to you rehash common themes. Your goal is to give each audience member at least one brand new bit of information to take home. Even if you’re just there to promote your small business, try to think outside the box. Throw an obscure fact or two in there. Give a unique perspective that’s related to your personal experiences. Your want to deliver content that your audience can’t find anywhere else. Originality is the key to making a strong impression.
Provide a Takeaway
After a presentation, it is easy for audience members to forget important points. Try to stay focused on the topic at hand, and avoid overwhelming the audience with too much information. At the end of the talk, provide a refresher of the most important takeaways. Deliver a succinct summary that people can easily remember. You can also end with a call to action that allows the audience to learn more on their own time. For example, consider giving them a card with a link to your website. After a solid presentation, the audience is likely to want to continue discussing and learning about the topic. Make it easy for them.
As long as you’re genuinely passionate about your presentation, your audience will respond. Try not to overthink it, and use every speaking engagement as an opportunity to learn and improve. Put your heart and soul into every event, and you can always hold your head high when the presentation ends.