As an entrepreneur, you know that you are going to need to improve upon many of your skills if you expect your business to succeed. If you have been listening to the latest podcasts, then you have probably heard many of the experts discuss marketing trends and how to increase productivity. But one skill that many of these experts have not been covering is how to improve your public speaking skills.
For many entrepreneurs, they avoid public speaking because they assume that it either has no value for them, or they are deathly afraid of it. Whatever the reason may be, if you want your business venture to get to the next level, you are going to need to practice your ability to give a great presentation.
Do professional speakers practice?
You bet they do, they practice like crazy. John Rogan of Motivational Speakers gives us a feel for how much they do practice:
“I have a personal rule that I tell a story anywhere from 30 to 50 times before I tell it in a presentation. That applies to each part of my presentation whether it’s humorous or not. When you practice parts of your talk that many times, a magical thing happens. All the ums and ahs disappear. Your volume and confidence increase. Your talk takes on a more conversational nature, which is exactly what you want.”
You may not be a professional public speaker, but you do need to practice.
Getting ready to practice your speech…
Before you begin practicing, there are a few things you need to prepare.
This is not the post to talk about what form of notes you should use, but whatever notes you will use on the night… those are the notes you should practice with.
On the night, you will probably be using a lectern. Your notes will be on the lectern and your hands will be free, not holding your notes. So that’s how you practice.
OK buying a lectern is a bit much to ask… so buy a music stand with a solid top.
Make sure the angle and height of the stand can be altered so that you can find what works best for you.
How to practice your speech
You’ve got your notes, you’ve got a lectern… lets get cracking.
According to the Coaching Institute, you need to practice your speech by simulating as near as possible the conditions you will encounter on the night. If you can practice in the actual room using the lectern you’ll be using on the night… great. But that’s not likely, so you have to improvise.
Put your notes on the lectern and stand back about an arms length.
- Can you read your notes? is the text large enough?
- Is the lectern at the right height or do you have to drop your head to read your notes? Make sure that all you have to do to read your notes, is drop your eyes, not your head.
- Will you position your notes on the left and slide the finished sheet to the right? Practice and see what feels best.
- Are the sheets of paper sticking together because of the static? Do you need to roughen the sheets up a bit?
- Do you need to mark any pauses, gestures or changes in voice?
Don’t wait for the night… now’s the time to get your notes sorted! It’s important to keep in mind that you also need to practice how you practice. What does that mean exactly?
It means that as you continue to practice your speaking skills, you need to improve how you practice because you will be learning many techniques over the years. The goal is to find what works for you so that it becomes easier and you become more proficient. So if you want to take your speaking skills to the next level, make sure that you dedicate yourself to your practice and you will find that over time, it will become much easier.