7 Public Speaking Tips for Corporate Events11 Jan 2016
Public speaking in any situation can be nerve-racking, but speaking at corporate events has an added pressure. You are surrounded by work colleagues, people who are perhaps very knowledgeable in your industry, and people worth impressing.
Talks at corporate events have a specific purpose, to knowledge share or inform, or to persuade your audience to agree, to act or to invest. It is important therefore to be thoroughly prepared before you make your speech and to think about your content and delivery carefully to make sure you get it right, and make the best impression possible on the day.
Creating and delivering an excellent speech is a skill. We have put together 6 tips you are sure to be successful.
1. Make sure you are a giver, not a taker.
All too often speeches at corporate events are focused on selling products, services or ideas. But this approach can lead to disengagement from your audience. We know when we are being sold to, and it can be a real turn off.
Try not to ‘take’ too much from your audience by directly selling to them. If you want your audience to action something like buying into your business, make sure you give them value by teaching them something new or inspiring them.
The best was to make a lasting impression? Inspire your audience and give them something to takeaway. You want your audience to fall in love with your ideas and spread the good word for you.
2. Make sure you truly understand what you are trying to say and deliver it concisely.
There are two sets of goals to understand here. Your own, and the goals of the event organisers.
What do you expect from the audience after you have made your speech, what are you hoping for from them? Do you have a call to action, or do you simply need them to absorb the information you are giving them? Remember, there is nothing wrong with handing out packs, and using visual aids to support what you are saying.
Leave time for the audience to ask questions (and be prepared to answer them), give out your contact information at then end so people can get in touch with you to discuss the information further. Understanding the organiser’s goals is also important.
Of course the event may have been organised by your own company in which case you should have a good idea of what’s expected, but always get direction from the person that has asked you to speak at the event be that your boss, or the organisers, so you can be clear of exactly what they expect of you before you begin working on your speech.
3. Engage your audience by telling stories.
Telling stories is a great way of engaging an audience. Stories help us simplify complicated concepts and give meaning to factual, static information. Our brains often react more to meaningful stories rather than less exciting, rigid realities.
Whatever the topic is you are covering, there will always be a way to give it a new take, present it from a different angle, and include some well placed humour in your speech.
Keep the content interesting and lively, and tell stories to illustrate your points. Keep your speech succinct and try to avoid going over your allotted time. If you are explaining something complicated, simplify it and illustrate it with a story.
Most importantly, make sure above all that you keep your audience listening and engaged at all times. All too often public speakers lose their audience
4. Use your body language to be bold and confident.
You may think it is just your tone of voice that counts towards making a great delivery when speaking at a corporate event, however your body language is hugely important too. It doesn’t matter how confidently you are talking, if you body language is telling a different story then it will be obvious.
Try to enjoy yourself. If you are nervous, practice settling your nerves by keeping your hands by your sides, or use a visual aid so you have something to point at.
Speak slowly, make eye contact or address your audience, pause to let your words ring and don’t forget to breathe!
5. Plan, Practice and Practice Again…
Don’t leave it until the last minute to run through your speech. Practice it all the time before you have to get up there and deliver it. The more you have practiced your speech out loud, the more comfortable you will be with your material.
If you have time to prepare what you are going to say, then make sure you do! Being under prepared or thinking you can just get up there and “wing it” is totally the wrong attitude. A carefully thought out and rehearsed speech is going to come across far better than a rambling, incoherent, repetitive or confused one. If you don’t prepare you will lose your audiences interest almost immediately.
You could even record it and play it back to yourself. Hearing it aloud will help you weed out any unnecessary information, waffle, or anything that may confuse or bore your audience.
6. Don’t be conventional – make your talk fun and be creative.
Instead of dreading your speech, particularly if you are nervous about public speaking, simply think of it as a wonderful opportunity to talk about something you are passionate about – and make sure that passion shines through!
Ask someone that regularly attends corporate events to recall the best talk they’ve seen in the last 6 months. Almost without fail the most memorable talk they’ve seen will have stood out from all the other talks because it was different.
Try to engage your audience by using emotive language, dynamics in your tone of voice and expressive language. These are all factors that could drastically improve the way you speak publicly and really make your talks memorable
7. Push yourself to take a few risks every now and then.
We are afraid to fail. It’s unfortunate and can be crippling to many but it’s unavoidable because it is programmed into all of us. This fear of failure can often lead to us playing life too safely, avoiding risks at every turn.
We all know risks can be wonderful things when they come off for us. But what about when they don’t? Such failures could lead to discomfort and humiliation and when public speaking but the rewards could far outweigh the risks.
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