10 Fixes for Common Public Speaking Problems

You may never address a boardroom full of executives or an auditorium filled with thousands of people, but it’s virtually a guarantee that at some point during your career, you’ll need to at least deliver a Powerpoint to some colleagues.

Yet public speaking fills so many of us with dread. Thankfully, Monster.com’s Monster Thinking blog has lined up ten fixes for common problems. You may not turn into Jack Valenti (or another famously celebrated public speaker, if Valenti’s not your thing) but you can at least erase that crippling fear and boost your chances at a promotion with your awesome delivery.

  • Tip: Don’t know what to do with your hands? Speaking too fast? Racing through your presentation? Don’t slow down your speech — improve your eye contact. Connect with your eyes before you speak. It’s like any sport. Aim first, then act!
  • Overly dependent on PowerPoint slides? Speak only when you are looking at someone. You can look at your notes or the screen, but not talk at the same time. Basically, cleanse the verbal palate with time (non-talk) for the audience to process the information. Then dish out your ideas with individual portions. The non-speaking time helps your audience’s digestion.
  • If you’re not addressing a crowd, but instead are at a networking event, you still need to present yourself well. For example….

  • Hate elevator speeches or think they are boring? Be creative. Avoid starting with the mundane: My name is, or I am…. Play around with these words to start your introduction: Imagine … Clients tell me … If you need … Then, add your business information and end with your name. Your listeners will appreciate the change from the usual.
  • Feel uncomfortable in big crowds? Buddy up! Drive over with a friend to loosen you up. Enter together and jointly engage in one conversation. Then, more comfortable, disperse and have another conversation. Remember, you can engage without speaking. Be present, listen well, and turn off the negative inner dialogue. You’ll soon notice how awkward becomes awesome.

More tips, including how to ask for favors, influence colleagues in a meeting, and participate effectively on conference calls, are at the original source.