The secrets to nailing public speaking like a pro

Just imagine them naked.

Someone’s dad told them to do this way back when, probably, and the public speaking tip has been passed down the generations like a dodgy heirloom ever since. But, and it’s a big but (or a big butt, in cases) do you really want to imagine Brian the accountant starkers? Do you need the mental image of Carol in her birthday suit to make delivering that presentation more palatable? The answer is probably, hopefully, no.

Fortunately, we’ve got some public speaking tips that don’t mean imagining anyone in the office naked. Because, while it might be your idea of hell, it’s actually easy when you fight the fear and do it anyway.

Practice makes perfect

There’s a reason we spend our summers revising before exams, cramming every ounce of information into our brain to make it easier to regurgitate when we need to. Practice your public speaking and by the time you have to deliver, it’ll roll right off your tongue.

Talk about what you know

Have you ever noticed that while a presentation feels like pulling teeth, talking about Game of Thrones for an hour is a walk in the park? If you find whatever you’re talking about boring, the chances are your audience will as well. If you can’t talk about a topic you’re passionate about, figure out a way to incorporate references to things that make you animatedly excited instead. That hour will fly by.

Find the friendly face

There’s always someone in every room that comes across like a bloody good egg. Whether you’re delivering to a conference room of strangers, members of the board or a packed auditorium, find the friendly face and talk to them. It’ll give you focus and add a human element back into a daunting situation.

Remember why they are there

Them, not you. Remember why they are there, in the audience, watching you. It might be because they’re interested in a business idea you’re pitching, it might be because you’re a name they know and respect in their field. Why ever they are there, if they’re still in the audience, it’s because they want to hear what you have to say, so tell them.

Give yourself a pep talk

What are you really worried about? Saying the wrong thing and sounding a fool? Coming across like you don’t know what you’re talking about? Not getting the gig? None of these are ideal but in the grand scheme of things, they aren’t life or death. If you’ve put in the prep and practised where you can, the hard work is done. Just enjoy it, talk about the business you love and be proud that you made it up there.

Helm Free Fridays

Want to learn more? Head down to Helm on a Friday for Helm Free Fridays. Full use of the space with meeting rooms, people and coffee. Come see what we're all about.