As I record this episode of Kanawha Valley Hustlers, I have a presentation tomorrow. I’m excited about it, and I hope you’ve signed up for it. It’s part of the Up Next Charlie West Professional Development series.
Now, let’s talk about something that comes up often in my conversations – public speaking. People always ask me about the secret to becoming a confident public speaker. Well, here’s my take.
For me, it’s partly natural ability. I’m comfortable speaking off the cuff, no nerves, no anxiety. But I know not everyone is like that, and that’s okay. So how can you become a better public speaker?
First and foremost, you need to know your subject inside out. Being well-versed in what you’re talking about is crucial. If you try to wing it on something you’re not familiar with, you’ll set yourself up for failure. That anxiety creeps in when you’re out of your comfort zone.
But knowing your subject doesn’t mean memorizing a script or bullet points. No, you want to be extemporaneous, spontaneous even. You’ll be comfortable going off-script when you’re confident in your knowledge.
Next, stories are your best friends. Humans connect through stories, not numbers or lists. So, have a handful of stories ready that relate to your topic. They’ll make your point more relatable and engaging. Personal stories, if you have them, work even better.
When you’re speaking to a crowd, don’t look at everyone simultaneously. Speak to one person at a time. It eases the overwhelming feeling that a large audience can bring. Make that personal connection, and it’ll do wonders for your confidence.
Practice is key. There’s no magic shortcut to becoming a great public speaker. Start by speaking to a friend or colleague, then maybe a few more people, gradually building up. Learn by doing; it’s the best way.
Lastly, avoid the trap of a boring PowerPoint filled with bullet points or note cards you’ll read word for word. If you want to make an impact, be spontaneous, know your subject, have compelling stories, and engage with your audience dynamically.
As I wrap up today, remember that becoming a proficient public speaker takes time and practice. So, hustle hard, hustle smart, and always wear that smile. Until next time, this is Joe Justice, the Kanawha Valley Hustler, signing off.