Increased heart rate . . .sweaty palms . . .uncontrollable butterflies . . .The fear of public speaking is a common one. But in advertising, you need to get over it – fast.
Speaking in front of a group is par for the course in our business, whether it be presenting new ideas to a client or brainstorming with your own colleagues. To help our team be calm, cool and collected when it matters most, Austin & Williams has started its own Toastmasters club, “Perfect Pitch.” For those not familiar, Toastmasters is an international organization designed to enhance
public speaking and leadership skills through practice and feedback from peers.
program includes 10, five-to-seven minute speeches and “Table Topics” (impromptu,
short presentations on random topics) all timed and evaluated, enabling participants
to learn how to organize thoughts, be a better listener and build confidence.
tuned for Perfect Pitch’s progress. In the meantime, here’s a “Top Ten” list
for tips on public speaking:
your material. Pick a topic you’re interested
in. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humor,
personal stories and conversational language – that way you won’t easily
forget what to say.
Practice! Practice! Rehearse out
loud with all the equipment you plan to use in your presentation. Revise
as necessary. Work to control filler words. Practice, pause and breathe.
Practice with a timer and allow time for the unexpected.
to know the audience. Greet some
of the audience members as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of
friends than to strangers.
to know the room. Arrive
early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and
any visual aids.
Begin by addressing the
audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and
count to three before saying anything. (“One one-thousand, two
one-thousand, three one-thousand.” Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy
yourself giving your speech. Imagine
yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualize the
audience clapping – it will boost your confidence.
that people want you to succeed. Audiences
want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining.
They’re rooting for you!
apologize for any nervousness or problem
– the audience probably never noticed it.
on the message – not the medium. Focus
your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message
and your audience.
experience. Mainly, your speech should
represent you – as an authority and as a person. Experience builds
confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. A Toastmasters club
can provide the experience you need in a safe and friendly environment.