The new year brings new public speaking opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs alike. Maybe you've resolved to boost your career, overcome your introverted personality or establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry?
What about your speaking-related goals? Public speaking is the glue that holds your business together and the life blood of your organization. If you haven't made any...don't worry. We've done the work for you in the form of challenges. After all, what good are ambitious goals if they get filed away in the drawer of nebulous hopes?
Here are five challenges sure to up your public speaking game in 2017:
1. Say Yes to Every Public Speaking Opportunity
Many of us succumb to the fear of public speaking. Instead, embrace every opportunity to get in front of an audience of stakeholders, prospective clients and key decision makers. In the new year, don't think twice and challenge yourself to say "yes" to every speaking engagement.
- You remain top of mind to potential clients
- You create new connections and potential leads
- You become the trusted advisor and thought leader in your space
2. Spend More Time Rehearsing
A well-rehearsed speech allows your authentic speaker personality to shine through. It's counterintuitive but true. A few run thru's before your talk ensures that you display subject matter expertise, gravitas and a boatload of confidence.
Resolve to devote more time to practice by using this simple formula. If you have always spent 100% of your time creating your talk and 0% practicing, aim for a 60/40 split. This simple tweak can make the difference between boring and bravo!
3. Share More Stories
Facts and figures may be the crux of your presentation, but they just aren't interesting. Keep your audience engaged and add some humanity by controlling the narrative. In fact, compelling stories help your audience retain data significantly more than simply providing the facts alone.
Don't just tell them a piece of information. Show them with story.
4. Clean-Up Your PowerPoint Deck
Speaking of show, it's time to improve those dated visual aids. Hello? The 1980's are calling... and they want their bullet-heavy PowerPoint presentations back. Make sure your slide deck joins the 21st century with high impact visuals that amplify the meaning of your words.
In this day and age, finding beautiful and compelling images can be as simple as a search through an image database or as complicated as your own photography. Either way, a picture says a thousand words.
5. Ask for Feedback
We've saved the most nerve-racking for last: requesting feedback.
First, let me assure you, nothing will help your public speaking performance like audience feedback. Be sure to note how the audience receives your presentation--and which direction the Q&A session ends up heading.
Afterward, ask for feedback from audience members, key stakeholders or other savvy presenters. It's difficult to muster up the courage, but it's totally worth it. And it can be as simple as asking two questions:
- What worked?
- What would you change?
As you begin the new year with goals to grow your business and your brand, take these communication challenges and watch your career reach new heights. Talk is cheap. Investing in your speaking skills is priceless.