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Most of us never have to think about speaking in public, except maybe when we have to get up and say a few words at someone’s wedding. For others, public speaking is a regular aspect of their professional life.

But whether it’s a tongue-in-cheek Best Man speech, or an important address at a corporate event, the whole point of public speaking is to engage your audience with your ideas.

Naturally that involves not just holding their attention but creating a rapport, and whether you’re simply trying to elicit a few laughs or swing a political election, there are a number of tried and tested ways to get your message across effectively.

Here we offer 10 tips to help you connect with your audience and leave a lasting impression whatever level you’re communicating on.

1. Practise and prepare

As with any important activity, preparation is essential, so it pays to consider your message carefully until you’re happy with it. That done, practise your delivery with the use of a webcam if possible until you’re comfortable and familiar with it, know where to pause, and how long it will take. 

2. Know your audience

This has to be a priority when your presentation concerns their interests and needs, so research is vital to enable you to tailor your message to what you think they need to hear. The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be to connect with them.

3. Be passionate

To inspire your audience, inject your speech with enthusiasm and conviction. Vary your inflections and intonations. Include touches of humour in your speech so you can smile and chuckle where appropriate to lighten the mood and draw the audience to you.

4. Use simple language

If the subject of your talk contains complex concepts and terminologies, try to simplify these into everyday language. It’s an interesting fact that complex subjects explained in simple, concise language communicate more effectively than when couched in technical jargon.

5. Don’t forget the purpose of the speech

Your core reason for making this speech should shape it from the very first line to the conclusion. Don’t be tempted to stray from that core theme by other ideas, either when preparing your speech or delivering it. 

6. Use humour and stories to connect

Humour always lifts a speech, but only if it works well and isn’t irrelevant. And let’s be honest, not everyone who has to make a speech is a natural comedian or accomplished raconteur, in which case it’s better to be know your subject and to be sincere and enthusiastic.

7. Work from an outline rather than a script

When preparing your speech, begin by writing down the basic framework and gradually flesh it out with detail. Leave spaces to add improvisation. Using visual aids will help engage the audience and act as notes or reminders for you.    

8. Use visual aids wisely

When making a business presentation, using visual aids helps to get your message across and makes complex ideas easier to understand. Visual aids also help to maintain audience attention, so long as you create the right balance between your spoken content and the visual content.  

9. End on a strong conclusion

You could summarise the main points you made throughout the speech. If the introduction tells the audience what they’ll learn, and the body tells the audience the content they should be learning, the conclusion should repeat those main ideas one final time.

10. Realise that good communication is never perfect

Nobody expects you or your presentation to be perfect, and nervousness is normal. But adapting the above tips to suit you, taking the time to prepare, and putting in plenty of practise, will certainly help you deliver a better speech – and minimise your nervousness.

The Cooper Associates County Ground

Whatever the reason for your presentation, one final tip is to hold it at The Cooper Associates County Ground. We are fully equipped with the latest audio-visual technology and can provide the spaces and facilities to ensure a positive and welcoming experience for everyone involved. So, the only thing you need to think about is speaking.

Enquire about our varied and versatile spaces today.