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Empower Your Next Presentation With These 10 Tips About Public Speaking

By Ari Kaplan

These tips about public speaking from Ari Kaplan can help you connect with your audience.

A few years ago, an accomplished business executive hired me to help him write a speech. His challenge was to engage the audience and make his comments memorable while appropriately conveying his company’s mission.

Tell Me a Story …

As we were considering options, I asked him to tell me a story about his family, career, success, failure, hobby or charitable pursuit. He paused, smiled, and said: “Of course, of course.” At the event, he shared a memorable personal experience that was seamlessly connected to his work.

The antidote to the fear of public speaking is to tell stories, rather than to present or lecture. I often begin my programs by discussing my family because it makes me smile and puts me at ease. I also try to shake hands with attendees before I start, ask questions as often as possible, and leverage visual cues in my slides to stay on track and maintain momentum.

This infographic shares a variety of proven public speaking tips to help increase your comfort level, communicate more effectively and connect with your listeners.

public speaking infographic

10 Ways To Empower Your Public Speaking

  1. Personally introduce yourself

    Introduce yourself to attendees before the presentation begins. Doing so sets a positive tone, builds rapport, and begins to establish trust.

  2. Ask your audience a question

    Asking a question at the outset helps to immediately engage the audience and enhance the speaker’s comfort level.

  3. Never start with an apology

    While it may seem polite, it sends the audience a signal that they should expect less and encourages them to limit their level of attention.

  4. Survey prospective attendees in advance

    Their responses allow the speaker to tailor the presentation by citing actual quotes, including relevant metrics, and focus on the interests of the attendees.

  5. Tell stories

    Sharing stories that are authentic, relevant, and illustrative help to captivate listeners and often provide details to which they can relate. It also puts the speaker at ease.

  6. Make eye contact

    It is critical to engage individuals to whom you are speaking. Instead of staring at specific audience members, consider shifting your gaze as you speak, while visually connecting with each individual as often as possible.

  7. Focus on being confident, comfortable, and engaging

    Focus on being confident, comfortable, and engaging. Achieving those goals will yield a successful presentation. And, always remember that your audience wants you to succeed.

  8. Use Visual Cues

    In lieu of notes, use visual cues to help guide the presentation both for you and for the audience. Strong imagery gives a presenter the chance to capture attention without fueling distraction.

  9. Build accountability into your presentation

    You will deliver a better performance by asking a colleague to observe your effort and provide constructive feedback. This type of collaboration and support can yield a variety of benefits.

  10. Fight the fear with preparation

    Public speaking makes everyone uncomfortable, but by preparing for your presentation and getting to know your audience, you are certain to find success.


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Illustration ©

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Categories: Business Development, Public Speaking
Originally published July 26, 2019
Last updated July 1, 2022
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Ari Kaplan

Ari Kaplan is the author of “The Opportunity Maker: Strategies for Inspiring Your Legal Career Through Creative Networking and Business Development,” 2nd Edition (West Academic) and “Reinventing Professional Services: Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace” (Wiley). He provides training on dynamic networking, including “Advanced LinkedIn Strategies to Empower Your Networking and Transform Your Outreach.” Follow him @AriKaplan on Twitter and learn about Lawcountability here.

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