You have a big presentation to make.
You are not exactly sure of what you will say or how you will say it.
Tremble. Tremble. Tremble.
You freeze up whenever you have to speak in public.
Don’t panic! Help is on the way in the form of an insightful new book, How to Give a Speech by Gary Genard. This book is jam-packed with advice about how to shape, deliver, and sustain your presentation. Dr. Genard offers 75 chapters filled with tips and techniques developing a powerful presentation and delivering strong performance that is memorable and evocative. Here’s a sampling of what How to Give a Speech offers:
Relating to an audience. A speaker must do four things: be credible (instill belief), be honest (tell the truth), be understanding (put yourself in the shoes of your audience), and be action oriented (ask people to do something).
Developing the message. There is a difference between topic and purpose. Topic is what you talk about; purpose is why you are delivering a presentation. Your message will flow from your topic (the what) and your purpose (the why). Good presentations need both.
Pausing for meaning. Many speakers, even experienced ones, ignore rhythm and pace. Too bad. Stopping occasionally is the sign of an accomplished speaker. “Pausing… will help you achieve impact, achieve emphasis, build suspense, bridge ideas, ‘comment’ on what you’ve said…” Genard adds that “Pauses also convey relaxation and confidence in a speaker.”
On relaxation. Close your eyes, pick a good thought, and slow your rate of breathing. It’s a good technique for instilling calmness and focusing on what you must do. Relaxation is critical for preparing yourself to take the stage and deliver your presentation like a pro.
Closing strong. Conclude your presentation as you have begun it — with power and impact, and use it as an opportunity to “re-focus your audience on your core message.”
How to Give a Speech also covers organizing your material, visualizing it, handling objections from the audience, and even motivating your audience. This book represents a distillation of insights and techniques that Genard has shared with his clients in corporate and nonprofit sector including NGOs, embassies, federal agencies, the U.S. Congress and the United Nations.
One more tip: you must rehearse – but only in moderation. Dr. Genard advises, “Rehearse your presentation between three and five times. Less than three times is almost winging it. If you rehearse more than five times you’ll run the risk of becoming… stale… or look[ing] mechanical.” Having this book around will take away some of the jitters you may be feeling about giving a presentation that matters. So shake off the trembles and get reading. Your audience will thank you for it.
[For more on Gary Genard, Ph.D. visit Public Speaking International]
John Baldoni • Leadership Expert: Executive Coach/Author/Speaker • Baldoni Consulting, LLC • www.johnbaldoni.com