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Perfect Pitch: Top 10 Tips for Public Speaking

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.

The
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.

Stay
tuned for Perfect Pitch’s progress. In the meantime, here’s a “Top Ten” list
for tips on public speaking:

  1. Know 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.
  2. Practice! 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.
  3. Get 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.
  4. Get to know the room. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids.
  5. Relax.¬†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 into enthusiasm.
  6. Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualize the audience clapping – it will boost your confidence.
  7. Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They’re rooting for you!
  8. Don’t apologize for any nervousness or problem – the audience probably never noticed it.
  9. Concentrate on the message – not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience.
  10. Gain 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.

Austin Williams is a fully integrated advertising and new york digital marketing agency, our in-house services include research, brand identity, campaign development, media planning and buying, website development, digital marketing, content creation and public relations. We are a financial advertising agency, healthcare marketing agency, higher education marketing agency, and professional services marketing agency.

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Vice President, Client Services

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