How to Extend Your Personal Brand through Public Speaking and Presentations - dummies

How to Extend Your Personal Brand through Public Speaking and Presentations

By Susan Chritton

In countless surveys, people rank public speaking as one of the scariest things in the world. What better way to set yourself apart and brand yourself? People are afraid of not knowing what to say, forgetting their words, looking dumb, or being rejected.

One of the quickest ways to ruin a speech or presentation is to deliver a message that feels false. A personal brand stems from living your authentic self from the inside out. To be a truly great presenter, you need to learn to speak from your genuine center. Audiences know when you’re not coming from your true self and can feel when a presenter is disingenuous.

With so many ways to go astray, should you just avoid speeches and presentations altogether? Of course not! You want to put yourself in front of your target audience whenever you have the right opportunity. Just be sure you’re ready to deliver the genuine goods.

Toastmasters International suggests tips to help you overcome your fears and deliver a winning speech, whether you’re giving a presentation in front of five colleagues or standing in front of a packed, 2,000-seat auditorium:

  • Be knowledgeable about your subject and choose something you are interested in. Know more about the subject than you include in your speech. Use humor, personal stories, and conversational language to enhance your speech.

  • Rehearse, make adjustments, and rehearse some more! Rehearse out loud with all equipment you plan on using. Time yourself and make sure that your speech flows easily. Revise as necessary.

  • Understand who you are speaking to. Say hello to the audience members as they arrive.

  • Familiarize yourself with the room. Arrive early and get comfortable with the speaking area. Practice using the microphone and visual aids.

  • Take a deep breath, and smile. Begin by addressing the audience. Pause, smile, and count to three before you say anything. Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.

  • Visualize giving a successful speech. Imagine yourself speaking with a loud, clear, and confident voice.

  • Recognize that people want you to do well. They are happy that you’re the one giving the speech and not them. Audiences want you to be authentic, interesting, informative, and entertaining.

  • Don’t remind your audience about mistakes or apologize for your nervousness — the audience probably didn’t notice it.

  • Focus on the message. Draw your attention away from your own nervousness so that you can concentrate on your message and your audience.

  • Your speech should represent your personal brand — as an authority and as a person. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to successful speaking.

Consider joining Toastmasters to improve your public speaking skills. Toastmasters International is a global leader that helps people learn to communicate more effectively. Toastmasters trains its members to become more confident speakers through weekly participation in speaking groups. Toastmasters is great skill-building training, and many people enjoy the community building aspects of the speaking groups as an added benefit.