Be Comfortable Speaking in Front of People

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While we were in New York City, I attended the National Speakers’ Association Convention. There were 1,800 professional speakers and trainers from 10 different countries.

As I sat through the sessions, I was reflecting on some tips for individuals to become better presenters in front of groups – whether you aspire to be a professional speaker and trainer like me, or just want to be better making presentations at work or in front of clients, here are some tips the pros use to be the best:

1. What do you want you audience to think, feel and do? You may want to get across some key information, then create some motivation for them to act and finally take action on what you said.

2. Prepare and practice: People often look at Robin Williams, the comedian and think he is winging it on stage because he seems to go from one random thought to the next. In reality everything you see has been written and practiced before. He still can improvide, however the core of his act will be similar from night to night. If you have an important presentation, write down your key points and practice it until you become comfortable. The goal is not to memorize – because then you could lose track of where you are – instead practice will allow you to speak from a list of bullet points and sound more natural.

3. Stories create emotion – even if you are presenting dry information, think about how to use a story to illustrate a point – people remember stories – and the subconscious automatically causes people to insert themselves into the story. The best stories are personal ones.

4. Avoid distracting the audience – be aware of any annoying ums, ahs, jingling your pockets, rocking back and forth. Move deliberately – and plant yourself for greater effect. Be natural (this comes with practice). People can tell if people are authentic or faking it – so be real and be confident.

5. Go for it – when you have the opportunity to get up and speak – say YES, and that way you will be on your way to mastering a skill that few people posess. It can help you get a promotion at work and get others to buy into your ideas.

My latest article has just been published in InBusinessWindsor. For more information about my training and speaking services, Please visit