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Mastering Public Speaking: Captivate & Be Remembered

When giving a presentation or speech, your goal is to come across as comfortable, confident, relaxed, and authoritative, right? You want your audience to understand you, remember your message, and take your desired actions. That’s what you’ll learn today; mastering the art of public speaking for your next presentation or speech.

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Mastering Public Speaking: Captivate & Be Remembered

Learn from the Best

Eric Lofholm
Master Sales Trainer
Keynote Speaker
EntrepreneurNOW Network

Subjects of Expertise

Sales Skills
Motivation
Mindset & Strategies
TJ Walker
Bestselling Author
Personal Development & Habits Expert
EntrepreneurNOW Network

Subjects of Expertise

Communication Skills
Public Speaking
Personal Development
Arvee Robinson
Master Speaker Trainer
Bestselling Author
EntrepreneurNOW Network

Subjects of Expertise

Public Speaking
Persuasive Presentations
Lead Generation
Brad Hussey
Web Designer
Marketing Consultant
EntrepreneurNOW Network

Subjects of Expertise

Web Design
Online Business
Freelancing Career
Carol Marzouk
Executive Coach
International Speaker
EntrepreneurNOW Network

Subjects of Expertise

Leadership
Employee Engagement
Valerie Sargent
Emotional Intelligence Strategist
Award-Winning Business Leader
EntrepreneurNOW Network

Subjects of Expertise

Emotional Intelligence
Leadership
Sales
Scott Robertson
Certified StoryBrand Guide
Public Relations Expert
EntrepreneurNOW Network

Subjects of Expertise

Public Relations
Marketing Communications
Attraction-Based Marketing
Paul Banoub
Technologist
Leadership & Productivity Expert
EntrepreneurNOW Network

Subjects of Expertise

People Management
Productivity
Leadership

Know what You Want the Audience to do

Before you start preparing your speech or the first slide of your presentation, take a breath, calm down, sit back, and ask yourself, “What do you want your audience to do?” For example, if you’re going on a job interview and presenting to a prospective employer, then you want your employer to do is to give you the job. If you are running for office, you want the audience to give you a vote or money. If you’re speaking to a new business prospect, you want them to hire you or sign a contract.

This may sound basic, but I see people of varying degrees of success, skills, and seniority making the same mistake countless times. Their first inclination is to just start gathering information. They go around gathering information and data, and it just gets stacked higher and higher. You don’t want to do this.

The first thing you have to do is figure out what you want your audience to do and write it down. You need clarity on that because if you don’t know what you want them to do, you can’t convince them to do it.

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Identify Your Messages

Think of the best speaker or presenter you’ve seen in your business, your line of work, or your industry. Now think of every message you remember from their speech and write it down. You don’t have to think of their style or accent; just focus on the messages. Can you remember anything? Maybe, you can’t remember anything at all! That’s a question I’ve been asking my clients all over the world, and typically quite often people say, “T.J., everyone’s boring in my industry. I don’t remember anything.” Or they’ll occasionally say, “Yeah, T.J., I remember this one speaker. I remember this idea.” Sometimes it’s three ideas from the greatest speaker they’ve seen. Every three months or so, someone will remember four ideas. However, all the years I’ve asked this question, guess how many times someone has remembered more than five ideas from the best speaker they’ve ever heard in their industry? Never!

The point here is that nobody will remember you if you don’t have interesting messages, so you need to work on this. You’ve to narrow down what you want your audience to do. In order to do so, you’ve to ask yourself about all the messages you could tell your audience. Then think about five or fewer of the most important ones. You are not being asked to be the Wikipedia for your audience; they can use their cell phone for this. You have to use your judgment and figure out what your audience needs to know to make a decision and take your desired action.

Most people make the fundamental mistake of trying to convey too many facts, numbers, or data points, and make it boring. Your audience doesn’t have to know everything about what you do in your job. Rather, you should focus on the ideas that are most interesting, relevant, important, and useful to your audience.

What you’ve got to do is brainstorm every possible message you could say in a presentation or a speech, and then eliminate anything that doesn’t make it to the top five. If you have a message that’s just a boring fact, and the audience isn’t going to find it interesting or useful, get rid of it. You can always give that in a handout, but it’s not something you have to spend your time speaking about.

Know what Messages will Work

How do you know what messages will be interesting to your audience? Well, here’s a radical idea for you, ask people. I love Google and the Internet and all that, but sometimes just going up to people and asking them what issues are of greatest interest to them can be the most helpful.

I can remember that many years ago, I was working with a political candidate who was running for supervisor of elections in a county in Florida. This was after a whole situation where voting machines didn’t work. The current supervisor of the election was going to be voted out of office, and people were upset their vote didn’t count. So, all of a sudden, about ten candidates are running for this position. My candidate had about the least money of any of the candidates. All of the candidates were running around town saying, “Democracy is paramount. Your vote is essential, and I have a law degree.” They had nice suits and ties on. They looked professional and sounded like statesmen. My candidate had to figure out a way of cutting through this. I asked myself, “What could we have done that’s different from other people?” I just went around and asked voters, “What are you looking for in a supervisor of elections?” Everyone said that they wanted the machines to work. I then asked my candidate to visit the factory where they make the voting machines, and we got the machines fixed. This didn’t cost any money. We didn’t have money for extensive polling, but I asked my candidate to focus on three clear, simple messages. I told him to ask his audience to vote for him, and he’ll make sure the machines work, and their vote will count. My candidate won the general election, and now actually many decades later, he’s still in office because of just asking people what they cared about and narrowing it down.

So whatever you do, it’s not enough to just tell people all your credentials. Whether you’re trying to get a new piece of business, a new consulting investment, or being hired for a job, you’ve got to focus on what the person or people you’re presenting to care about.

Use Stories to Make Your Ideas Unforgettable

Do you want to know what the single biggest difference between great communicators and the average, boring ones is? It’s not about intelligence, looks, charisma, or having a sense of humor, although humor does help. The difference is great communicators use stories to illustrate all their key points. That’s because stories allow your audience to visualize what you’re saying, which will trigger their memory process and create a lasting impression on them.

Your story doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Get a clean sheet of paper, brainstorm your top five ideas, and come up with a little story for each. A simple story with a character, a problem, a setting, and a little dialogue would do. Most importantly, make sure that the story conveys your point and creates interest, don’t let it backfire.

Remember that it’s not just about opening your speech with a funny story to loosen people up. It’s critical to the whole communication process. You need an actual and relevant story. Not some generic motivational starfish story, but a real story about a real problem, a real conversation you had with a real person, and how the problem was resolved.

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PowerPoint Presentation

Though PowerPoint presentations and visuals aid your presentation or speech, most of the time, they’re dull. They’re excuses to put people to sleep or encourage them to check their Facebook feed because it’s so darn boring.

For starters, if you’re thinking of giving a PowerPoint presentation, remember that you’re not giving a PowerPoint presentation, but presenting your ideas and using the presentation to help them come alive for your audience. The PowerPoint slides are just an extra. The second you tell yourself, “I’m giving a PowerPoint presentation,” it flips a switch, and they become boring, robotic, and incompetent speakers. Don’t let that happen. My advice to you is, don’t create the first slide until you’ve identified what you want your audience to do, what are your five key ideas messages, and what’s the story for each message point. Do this, and then think about having slides to back it up. Your slides should be memorable and easily understandable.

Here are a few rules you need to follow when making a PowerPoint presentation:

One idea per slide

If you want to successfully use PowerPoint, then make sure you’re describing one idea per slide. When you see three bullet points or ten bullet points, it just doesn’t work. The PowerPoint slides are not for your notes.

Use images

Putting text on slides that you are projecting may not help your audience remember your messages. If you want to be effective, add one image per slide without having any text on it. If you want to have lots of text, email that to people in advance or give it as a handout, but don’t project it during your presentation.

Make people look at you

When you’re speaking, let people look at you and don’t have a slide up. The one solution to this is to hit the letter B on your keyboard as it will black out the screen. If you want people to look at the slide, then stay quiet and let them look at it.

Build an Ethical Cheat Sheet

A cheat sheet is a simple but effective tool to remember your messages. Having notes on a single sheet of paper will make you feel more comfortable and relaxed when you are speaking and will create a better experience for your audience.

I recommend you make it in a font large enough to read, so you don’t have to fumble around in the middle of a presentation, or put on your glasses to read the notes. Moreover, bold it and don’t use different indentation levels because it’s hard to read when you are speaking. Rather, have everything with left indentation as it’s easier to look at it and quickly identify where you were.

If you find yourself needing more than a single sheet of paper, the problem is not that you need another sheet of paper. The problem is you haven’t narrowed your messages down enough.

Moreover, don’t hold the notes in your hands when you’re standing and speaking; rather, have them down on a table or a chair. This way, you can continue to move your hands and walk around. The audience won’t even know you’re using notes, and they will perceive you as smarter, more competent, intelligent, and capable.

Practice on Video

Your audience wants your best, and you probably won’t be able to give your best unless you practice it on video. If you’re not willing to practice, you don’t know if you’re doing good or not, and that’s what causes you to get nervous or uncomfortable. The number one way to get over it and be more confident is to practice speaking on video until you love it.

Record a video, review it, make notes of what you don’t like, work on your weaknesses, rerecord, and repeat until you are completely satisfied. Try to improve just one area at a time. For instance, if you notice that your head is frozen and stiff the whole time, then rerecord a video while explicitly focusing on moving your head.

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Get Feedback

When you’re confident that your video is good enough, send it to two or three people who have a similar mindset to your intended audience, and get their feedback. Make sure you ask for specific feedback on particular areas; don’t just ask them if they liked it, because they will probably say it was great. Generally, positive feedback is worthless.

Ask them what they remember from the video and how they would summarize it to someone who hasn’t heard your speech. If they tell you one or more messages they remembered from your videos, then you’ve done a great job. However, if they can’t remember anything, you need to work on your messages and stories again.  

To Wrap it Up

This article describes everything you need to know to be a great public speaker or a great presenter. Let’s recap. You’ve identified what you want your audience to do. You brainstormed messages that might motivate them to do that. You’ve narrowed it down to your top five. You’ve come up with a story for each one. You’ve come up with a slide or an image to support each message. You have a single sheet of notes to help remember your messages. You’ve practiced your speech on video numerous times until you liked it. You’ve shown it to other colleagues, and you’ve improved and refined it even more until your colleagues are not just liking you as a speaker but remembering the key messages.

If you’ve done all this, you’re now ready to give a brilliant presentation or speech. If you haven’t, do it now, and you’ll be a great speaker and a fantastic presenter for the rest of your life. Good luck!

To learn more, you can also check out my online courses here.

TJ Walker
Featured Uplyrn Expert
TJ Walker
Bestselling Author, Personal Development & Habits Expert, EntrepreneurNOW Network
Subjects of Expertise: Communication Skills, Public Speaking, Personal Development
Featured Uplyrn Expert
TJ Walker
Bestselling Author
Personal Development & Habits Expert
EntrepreneurNOW Network

Subjects of Expertise

Communication Skills
Public Speaking
Personal Development

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