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As part of our new Passion Pioneers campaign with GoDaddy, Expert coach Shola Kaye reveals how to speak in public and pitch like a pro…
Public speaking is an important part of any job, and from team meetings and presentations all the way to TED talks, everyone will experience it at some point during their career.
For entrepreneurs, it’s investment pitches – a crucial hurdle to obtaining funding and a notoriously difficult balance to get right.
You want to pique the interest of potential investors, while delivering a concise outline of your business plan – all while appearing confident, professional and likeable.
How is it possible? Well, according to communication specialist, author and award-winning speaker Shola Kaye, there are a few tricks that can help you.
Aside from creating your business plan – you’re on your own for that one, it’s all about confidence and delivery, making the investors you’re pitching to feel at ease and relaxed in your presence.
This is something Shola Kaye specialises in, changing career as a management consultant after experiencing a paralysing fear of speaking up during meetings herself. She is now a keynote speaker, coach and author of How to be a DIVA at Public Speaking, working with clients and companies to help women create confident, exciting, stand-out speeches.
Over on our new Passion Pioneers channel, you will find expert advice and inspiration for every step of your career, equipping you with everything you need to know from practical advice to inspirational profile pieces.
As part of our Passion Pioneers campaign with GoDaddy, here are Shola’s top public speaking tips to help you exude confidence and bag those investors.
Here are Shola Kaye’s 6 simple steps to public speaking like a pro…
1. Write your main themes or bullet points on a small note card and keep it close to hand during your pitch
Even the world’s top speakers and performers sometimes forget their lines. As you rehearse during the last few days ahead of your speech, use these bullet points as prompts. During your presentation, keep them close by in your jacket pocket or on a side table. If you need to use them, calmly take them out, find your place, and carry on. Don’t apologise or treat it as any sort of weakness that you needed to revert to your note card. Your audience won’t bat an eye.
2. Create a written checklist of things that might derail your public speaking and manage the risk
When you arrive, ensure your slide presentation works (if you have one). If there’s a technical problem, do you have extra handouts that could be printed? Can you tell longer stories or share case studies to keep the audience engaged? It’s not pessimistic to try to predict problems before they happen – it’s all about being well-prepared for public speaking.
3. Make a list of empowering questions and whenever you start doubting yourself, read them!
Most of us tend to doubt ourselves during important moments. When you walk onto that stage or to the front of the room, you need to project an air of unshakeable positivity and competence. Ask yourself:
- ‘Which parts will the audience love most?’
- ‘Why is this talk exciting/inspiring/fascinating?
- ‘How will this information help my audience?’
- ‘How will I feel after this presentation goes really well?
4. Think about your stature – stand up tall and allow yourself to breathe
This is an old trick from the world of acting and performance. Wherever you are at this moment, sit upright or stand up straight. Imagine a silver thread extending from the crown of your head helping to keep your neck and back comfortably extended. At this point, you’re sitting or standing with good posture but there’s probably tension in your body. The next step, is to allow yourself to breathe. Keep the tall, proud posture but breathe comfortably. You should feel great! This is the stature you should retain when you’re public speaking, whether to CEOs or to little children. Your stature has everything to do with your worth as a human being and nothing to do with the status of those you’re speaking to, so stand tall, be confident and breathe.
5. Chat to the audience before you go on stage when public speaking
If you can, sit with the audience and make some connections before it’s time to speak. It shows you that the audience is human. They’re individuals with different personalities, expectations and opinions. They want to learn from you or be informed by you and, importantly, they want you to do well. You can even pretend that the audience is filled with friends and family!
6. Take your time and remember that your worth as a person has NOTHING to do with your performance
We tend to connect our self-worth with how we perform at various tasks. This can crush us before we even have a chance to speak. It can lead to trembles, blanking out and forgetting to breathe.
Perhaps this sounds a bit hokey, but before you pitch or go on stage, repeat to yourself slowly and calmly, ‘I am loved. I am loved’. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted. It stems from our caveman fears of being thrown out of the community. These days there aren’t roving wild animals that will eat us and most of us have access to food and shelter, but these fears live on. A simple statement such as ‘I’m accepted’ can calm down our monkey mind and help us focus our resources on giving a great presentation.
Visit our Passion Pioneers channel for more empowerment.