Public speaking 101: Never picture anybody naked
Colleague: “Hey Liona, we are looking for someone that can be the host during the end-of-year gathering and we we’re thinking of you! Would you like to be the presenter?”
Me: “Oh yeah, sure! How nice of you to think of me.”
It took only a few seconds after hanging up the phone for me to realize: Oh, there are about 400 people in the crowd during this presentation. CRAP, what have I just agreed to do?! As I have had a little bit of practice presenting to a crowd or standing in front of the camera before, 400 is a total new number that will swoop my current audience record. However, what’s life without a little bit of a challenge. In preparation for my big gig, here are some of the techniques I will be practicing.
The SETHI framework
It’s one of those classic tips: Picture people in the audience naked. I tried this tip when I was nine years old and quickly learned it is a really bad idea! Ramit Sethi agrees and presents the SETHI framework. Not only is Sethi his last name it is also the abbreviation for his framework that is as follows:
- Smile – As we’ve written about before, smiling is the invitation for people to listen to what you have to say.
- Energy – Sethi’s general rule is to add 50% more energy into every aspect of your storytelling. This includes facial expressions, intonation and movement. The reason is that if your goal is to evoke emotion and don’t want your audience to fall flat, more energy and enthusiasm is required.
- Talk slower – Give your audience the chance to listen and absorb the story, so take your time.
- Hands – Use your hands to create an open look in your body language. Using your hands during your story will put more emphasis on certain parts, therefore it can be a strong tool to decorate your presentation.
- I (eye) contact – The expression in your eyes is a powerful tool to connect with the audience.
Tips TED gives its speakers
TED talks are probably the most famous presentations in the world. The speakers are interesting, fast paced and always seem to carry away the crowd. However, before these speakers engage, they are given some tips by TED’s organization. These are:
- Make eye contact from the start.
- Show vulnerability.
- Make ‘em laugh – not squirm.
- Park your ego.
- Tell a story.
Get ready to cringe
Because the best thing to be aware of your body language and presentation skills is not by practicing in front of a mirror, but to record it on video. Watching and analyzing the footage is quite painful (believe me, there’s a lot of horrible footage of me), but also the most effective way to get insights into your weird tics, catch phrases and so on. I guess there’s nothing left to do then to just bite the bullet and to record myself. Let’s hope it will pay off.
What about you? Do you have experience in public speaking? There’s still more than two months left until I have to host the gathering. Therefore, I am curious to know: What are your best tips for me?