No matter what kind of business you have, there's a chance you'll have to do some type of public speaking. Meetings are probably the most popular for small business owners, but you may also work traveling to conferences into your financial plan to speak to larger audiences. While you may want to just present your topic, don't. People don't want to be talked at. They want to be part of the conversation. When you're in front of a group of people, whether it's your employees or others in your industry, you should take the following tips into consideration:
1. Don't make it only about you
While you might be the presenter, you are not why the audience is there. There's a goal to your discussion or your meeting, so make sure that is the focus. When talking to a large audience, it can be easy to slip your own personal experiences into the talk. However, you should find a way to make your situations relate to your audience's, Forbes explained. You should always connect your struggles and successes to the crowd and the rest of society. Not only will this display your discussion on a larger scale, it will also establish a bond between you and your audience.
You're the one with the microphone, but that doesn't mean your crowd has nothing to say. Even if they're not talking, they are speaking volumes. Audiences communicate in silence, gestures and expressions, according to Entrepreneur. You need to pay attention to what people in the stands are doing. If they're disinterested in what you're talking about, you'll know if you're observing them well enough. Depending on what they're doing, you can alter the direction of your speech accordingly.
3. Ask questions
One of the best ways to get the audience engaged in the session is to involve them. When you're just talking, there's a chance they're going to zone out unless they're really interested in what you're saying. Let them ask questions, and you do the same in return, throughout the session, Entrepreneur suggested. This will ensure that your audience is actively listening while also giving you the opportunity to clarify any points you've made. Don't wait until the final Q&A to find out that you're crowd only understood half of what you were saying. Having questions throughout your talk will create a conversation and allow you to shape the rest of your presentation.
4. Don't hold back
Most of the time, speakers hold back from broaching more difficult subjects, according to Forbes. You shouldn't do that. Only when you embrace in-depth conversation will your presentation truly have any value. While talking about you and your company's successes may look good on paper, it won't sound good to an audience. They want to hear about the struggles you faced and the obstacles you had to overcome. When you make yourself seem more realistic, you'll be able to better create a camaraderie with the crowd. If they can relate to you, they'll be more willing to take your advice and story to heart.
Speaking to an audience can be intimidating, but if you take the time to think about what they want to hear, you'll be able to connect with them.