Whether you’re speaking at TED, Davos, your local Rising Tide meet-up or career day at your alma mater, keeping your audience captivated makes makes everyone a pro at public speaking. And the secret to getting your audience to know, like and trust you as a public speaker, is to radiate confidence and credibility.
For mindset shifts, around confidence when speaking in public or presenting, there’s a plethora of experts who got your back (Jen Sincero is my go-to for self-love + levity).
Here, it’s about tangible and actional ways you can start nailing public speaking with poise and confidence.
Do these and I promise, you’ll ace your next live webinar, speaking gig or conference keynote. You’ll be oozing with credibility and be among the public speaking greats.
Power Poses For Public Speaking
Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Take up space. Amy Cuddy is the OG for more power poses. Don’t lock your knees, keep then relaxed. And please don't look like you're about to straddle a horse. Stay loose.
P.S. Fainting is not fun.
Early in my career I accidentally fainted and learned this lesson the hard way. Have your arms relaxed at your sides. Don’t rock side to side, it’s distracting. The exception to this is if there is music playing when you're walking out on stage, then don’t be a robot. Or do the robot! That dance move is retired.
Keep your hands between your chest and belly-button when gesturing is a public speaking best practice.
WHY because when your gestures are too high = too much tension. Too low= not excited, translates to low enthusiasm.
Clasping hands appears guarded, what secrets are you hiding from me? Guarded and cagey = your audience is way less likely to trust you.
Head & Hair
Don’t bop your head around. To help imagine there is a book sitting on top of your head. Public speaking = no bobblehead zone.
Last one, I’m very guilty of and is why when I’m at an event or “on” professionally you will always see my hair pulled back from my face. It is never, ever down because…..
touching your hair removes credibility.
It makes people think you are nervous and is a distraction. I love to twirl my hair but I love my credibility even more!
To keep your audience engaged while speaking, with each phrase try to gaze at someone for 3-4 seconds. Don’t engage for too long because that’s creepy. And when your gaze is too short, you give off darting + suspicious vibes, which is not the type of public speaking vibes we're going for here.
Voice| Tone | Inflection
This is the most valuable public speaking lesson, especially for all of us with higher pitched voices.
Do not have your tone go up at the end. It insinuates a question i.e. asking for credibility/affirmation.
It makes you appear insecure. And I know you're confident and poised public speaker!!! This is also called uptalk or upspeak.
I’m a third generation Californian. We tend to speak lightly, use like lavishly and Cher was my role-model in middle school. To stop this habit and start nailing my speaking engagements, I imagined a rainbow when I spoke. My sentences as an arch when speaking and inflect in the middle or a few words before you close the phrase with a lower tone.
One of my first speaking coaches told me I needed to work on my facial fluidity. I had too much of it and needed to have more of a poker face when presenting in public.
Here’s what I say for those of us that tend to go a little cold when all eyes are on you--engage your face when you are trying to drive a point about something. Try to strike a balance between stoic and ecstatic. And if you are a smiley, facial fluid person- own it!
Disarming is charming IMHO.
Public Speaking Odds & Ends
When done speaking drop hands to sides. No jazz hands on your way down When presenting pause just a moment so your audience has time to digest. Determine when/ where is appropriate. Pause allows audience to feel more comfortable and BONUS you get to relax. DO NOT begin presenting with a SO or BUT or UM.
For help with filler words, go to your local Toastmasters. If you are a big hand fiddler (guilty) hold a water bottle (when appropriate) to avoid awkward hand syndrome.
Now you’re ready to take the stage and spotlight.
Ps...Are you having trouble developing your talking points OR wondering how you can turn your next interview or speaking gig into a profitable PR opportunity? That's my specialty! Schedule a free strategy call with me here.