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Speaking Tips and Resources

Have you ever heard an excellent speech and wanted to deliver the same, powerful results yourself? Many people fear public speaking in such a strong way that it can cause immobilization. Don’t be one of those people!

With years of TEDx experience behind her, Mich Hancock knows how to deliver a presentation with pizazz, grace, and emotion. It doesn’t take a magician conjuring up a magic spell to give you the perfect potion, all it takes is a little bit of planning and some basic ideas. You may wonder – why should I even want to become a public speaking pro?

That question has many answers that boil down to one truth: presenting what you know (and knocking it out of the park) can help to establish anyone as a thought leader. Thought leaders are individuals who are experts in their field, and will rise through the ranks at any company, in any industry. Becoming a thought leader brings many new opportunities that may not have been within reach previously.

Now that it’s understood why public speaking is so important, let’s take a journey and discover what elements you can gather to become a better speaker today.

First and foremost, the mindset of a speaker needs to be one of humility, vulnerability and empathy. It is important to approach your presentation with authenticity and connect with your audience in a way that makes them feel understood and valued. Share the path, along with all its challenges, pitfalls and successes, on how you’ve gotten to where you are today. Many viewers are just beginning their journey and need to understand that you were once in their shoes. Share with them the small steps they can take that can move them forward.

Remember that the opening of a presentation is the first impression on the audience. Attention spans have shortened throughout the years, and as such, there is a very limited window for pulling people into a talk. Use a great opening statement to ensure everyone in the room is listening and ready to hear more! Peek their attention, do not give them a reason to retreat into their phones.

Make sure the theme of the talk is relevant. Stay on-point throughout the presentation and lose any content that can’t be related back to the topic at hand. A simple message mapping exercise might help greatly with this!

Balance your conversation. Include serious notes, as well as humor; be professional and approachable all at once. Anchoring too far to either end of the spectrum has the possibility of ruining thought leadership or coming off as unprofessional.

Lastly, ensure your viewers have something of substance to cling onto as you close your presentation. Providing them with a call to action, or something they can do reasonably easily and quickly after they leave, is imperative to leaving a lasting impression. A do-able call to action is a baby step into something bigger, it is something the audience can leave with and feel they received something valuable for their time.

For example, if a talk is about the importance of friendship, a call to action may be to contact that friend that they have been meaning to catch up with but have not for whatever reason. A talk about the successful not-for-profit you built, could have a call to action to start with volunteering 2 hours of time at a not-for-profit they care about.

We’ve set forth the elements and reasoning behind an excellent presentation. Now, here are a few resources that will help you along your way.

Presentation software. While there are several different options these days when it comes to visually representing your talk, you don’t have to shell out much (or any) money on this piece. Microsoft PowerPoint has been around for ages and does the trick. If you’re looking for something that is based online, Prezi is also an option.

Canva. This tool can help to create beautiful visuals that you can use in any presentation software. Searches for images populate only those that are free to use for anyone, without rights attached. The best part of this software is that it’s very intuitive and easy to use. You don’t need to be a graphic designer, but you may feel like one!

TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson. As the Head of TED, Chris Anderson knows what he’s talking about, literally! Read his biography, and then dive into a few of his many talks. You’ll soon be inspired!

Start with Why by Simon Sinek. While this title is also a book, you might want to start with this TED Talk. One of the best pieces of advice Simon gives is to include a story in a presentation. Take people on a journey through your topic in order to pull them in to what you do.