Whether you’re explaining your product to potential customers, making an appeal to financiers, or addressing an audience of your peers, public speaking is a vital skill for any entrepreneur. An iPad with a good public speaking app can help you deliver a quality presentation with confidence.
This entertaining and informative article from Entrepreneur offers some more great advice to make those business presentations go more smoothly, with less anxiety and better results.
The article starts off with two important things to keep in mind. First, you’re not as bad a speaker as you think. Most people tend to underrate their own performance. Secondly, a little anxiety is good. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t feel nervous. The key, the author says, is to care about the right thing, which in this case is your audience:
The last thing the audience wants to do is sit there for half an hour and watch someone fidget and have difficulty speaking. They want to listen to someone who is in control. Because someone in control is someone who can help–someone who can help them, specifically.
Audiences are selfish. Which is the key to everything.
So, focus your energies and your concern on that audience. What can you offer them? How can you help them? Begin by looking at them–make eye contact and see them as real human beings. It may seem scary at first, but if you really engage and concentrate on the audience, it will take the spotlight off you. And focusing on yourself is the reason you feel so nervous to begin with.
Try to think of your presentation as a conversation rather than a speech. Even though you’re the only one talking, addressing your audience directly the way you would in a personal conversation makes everyone in the room much more comfortable.
Once you’re focused on the audience, tell them what you have to offer them. Tell them why you are there. Tell them what you are going to talk about. Establish your authority. Take charge of the presentation. Your speech should tell a compelling story. Even if the subject is not inherently interesting, it’s your job to make it interesting. Figure out how this topic relates to your audience and solves a problem for them. “Give the audience something to take away. Ideas, tips, rules–something useful,” says Dr. Karl Albrecht, an executive managementconsultant and author of the book Social Intelligence: The New Science of Success.
Finally, although you want to convey your enthusiasm for your topic and demonstrate that you are happy to be there, try to keep your energy level in check. Don’t talk too loudly or too quickly, or move around too much. There’s no need to put pressure on your audience or push too hard with your message. Remember, whatever you’re selling is really secondary. Keep in mind that “key to everything”–your audience is selfish. So provide them with valuable information they can use, and your presentation will be a success.