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VIEWPOINT: Present with confidence

“If you are prepared to take action and become part of the 10% of people in the world who are not afraid of speaking in public, then this article is for you.”

As a business leader, you will need to speak in public. But how do you create an inspiring speech? The reality is that speaking in front of a group of people is best learnt by doing.

Connect with your audience 

Arrive early and talk to the delegates in the room before you speak. Meet the people in the front row. Ask them what they are looking forward to listening to today. Get some names and stories of people in the audience. By doing this your levels of confidence increase as you realise that you have a message that your audience want to listen to. You can also use the names of people in your presentation to create a special connection with the audience.

Reinforce your message

At the end of your presentation, people will naturally want to come up to you and give you some feedback on what you can do differently. Your response to them should be, “Yes I would like the feedback, but not right now!” Immediately after your talk you are still a bit vulnerable – you took a risk and spoke in front of people. You first want time to self-assess your performance before listening to the views of other people. When reviewing your presentation, ask yourself, “What is working”, “What caused it to work?”, “What did not work”, “What did you learn”, and “What can be done differently next time.”


Assert with confidence

When you are on stage, you are perceived to be an authority figure on your topic. So assert your statements convincingly. Whilst you may be addressing a group, your words are stated as if you are speaking to one person. As an example, instead of saying, “you all should take action,” say “you should take action”. This makes your message more personal.

Vocal variety 

To avoid being a monological speaker, use the following four techniques to add vocal variety to your message:

1        Pace: Slow down for key statements

2        Pitch: Sad or excited voice relative to message

3        Power: High volume to emphasise words; low volume for impact

4        Pause: For greater emphasis

Engage – Remember the five Ps to be an engaging speaker

1        Be Prepared

2        Be Personable

3        Be Polished

4        Be Practical

5        Be Profound ❐


Author: Dineshrie Pillay CA(SA) is a speaker, trainer and workshop facilitator specialising in leadership