Throughout my life I must’ve given hundreds of talks now, and almost always I’m asked before I talk whether or not I’m nervous. Who doesn’t feel anxiety when speaking in front of a crowd? Here’s a collection of tips I compiled to help prepare for public speaking:
- Make a list of the key points you want to make and construct it in chronological order. Each slide should portray 1 single message.
- Practice, practice, practice – all-day-all-night, in front of people if possible and ask for feedback, or even for an audience of your teddy bears
- Prepare 1 slide per minute. When you’ve mastered that, try the PechaKucha method – 20 seconds per slide. Humans have very limited attention spans so the more movement you have going on the better.
- Engage the audience – ask rhetorical questions, or even ask interactive questions and set the scene e.g. ‘Imagine you are in deep space…’
- Be visual. Use lots of images and try to limit the number of equations. Is there a better way to explain what you’re trying to get across without all the math?
- Scan across the room regularly, try to make eye contact, use hand gestures and make sure to smile. A study on TED talks (see here), found that there was a correlation between the popularity of a video and the number of hand gestures the speaker made.
That’s all I can think of for now. Let me know if I’ve missed any!
Bye for now xoxo