Public speaking can be a daunting task, but with preparation and practice, you can deliver a powerful and engaging speech. The truth is, public speaking is a powerful tool to convey your message and build trust, raise your authority, and attract new clients. No matter how much experience you may have in public speaking, never deliver a professional speaking engagement without preparation because you will only set yourself up for failure.
So, how do you prepare for a public speaking engagement?
Below are some tips from my many years of hosting international events and working with hundreds of speakers to help you prepare for a professional public speaking engagement:
Tips to prepare for a professional public speaking engagement.
Know your audience.
The most important part of being a prepared speaker is understanding your audience and gaining as much audience insight as possible. This will help you tailor your speech to the interests, needs, and expectations of the audience as well as the event host.
You want to come across as a professional and make the most out of the public speaking opportunity given. So before every event, make sure to research the event and its audience demographics, interests, and motivations to ensure your message resonates with the audience and serves the purpose of the event.
Develop your message.
Be prepared for the speaking engagement by tailoring your main message or theme for your speech, the audience, and the event. This is such an important skill to have as a speaker, to be able to make your speech appropriate for the stage and the audience and have the skill of making that message land with the people in the room. So take the time to craft your message around the audience’s interests and expectations, and focus on delivering your message clearly, concisely, and compellingly.
If you want to learn and master your public speaking skills consider joining our Speaker’s Academy where we help you develop your message and teach you how to tailor your speech for any stage.
Practice, practice, practice
If you are worried about messing up your talk, rehearse your speech several times to ensure you are comfortable with the content and the delivery. It is important that you practice saying your content out loud and hear yourself doing so, so you can refine your message. You also want to make sure the timing of your speech is perfect to suit the time that you have been given.
It is the most common mistake of inexperienced speakers to run overtime with their talks because they did not practice delivering their content. If needs be, practice in front of a mirror, record yourself, or ask a friend or family member to listen to you and provide feedback.
To feel more prepared for a public speaking engagement, use visual aids to enhance your speech. This could include slides, handouts, or props. This can help maintain your audience’s attention, keep them on track with what you are saying, and give you cues of your talk structure, thus aiding your memory in case you do forget to cover everything you have intended. But, make sure your visual aids are relevant, clear, and easy to read.
Dressing appropriately for your speaking engagement can help you feel confident and professional on the day. If in doubt, ask the event organizer what the dress code is to ensure you are not over or underdressed. Choose clothing that is comfortable, professional, and appropriate for the occasion and most importantly, makes you feel good.
You do not want to be that speaker who shows up to the stage flustered, unprepared, and clearly late for their talk. It makes you look unprofessional and disrespectful to the audience and the host. So allow plenty of time, to avoid stress, and arrive at the venue early to allow time for any unexpected situations or last-minute adjustments. This will also give you time to familiarise yourself with the setting, equipment, and other logistics.
Be in control of your nerves.
It is normal to feel nervous before a public speaking engagement, and in fact, you can use this to your advantage to deliver an even more powerful speech. Use it to your advantage to channel the adrenalin to excite the audience and get yourself pumped up for the speaking engagement. And if you want to feel more in control of your nerves, practice deep breathing, visualise a successful outcome, and focus on your message and audience.
By following these tips and preparing thoroughly, you can deliver a powerful and engaging speech that leaves a lasting impression on your audience.
Remember, effective public speaking is nothing else but a skill that can be learned and improved with practice and appropriate training and support.
If you’d like help to become a more powerful and engaging speaker so you can conquer more stages as a professional speaker, join the Speaker’s Academy today.
Name: Raimonda Jan
Bio: Raimonda Jankunaite is the founder and host of the Women Thrive Media & the annual Women Thrive Summit, which is hosted every year to mark Women’s History Month to empower women to thrive. Every year we celebrate and highlight the achievements of women globally.