Build on Your Credibility: Give a Talk with Confidence
If you’ve positioned yourself as a voice of authority – perhaps by publishing a book or building a strong reputation in your field – then you’ll likely be asked to give a talk. This is because your initial success naturally leads to other opportunities. And speaking engagements are up there with the main ones.
Leaders, authors, and other authorities on a particular topic are always in demand. You’re now part of that community!
Your unique expertise and authority are now your success story. And a success story always serves as an inspiration and magnet for others with similar interests. They will want to hear about your knowledge and how you got to this point in your life.
That’s why you’ll almost certainly get an invitation to give a talk or presentation to many different audiences in your field.
They offer you a fantastic opportunity to build on your credibility and increase your income. Giving your talk will lead to more career opportunities and/or higher book sales.
You may not be feeling confident to stand there and talk to a group of people who are expecting to soak up something inspiring from you, but you’re not alone with your self-doubt. A recent study found that 73% of the population is uncomfortable with public speaking.
Here are some great tips for giving a talk with confidence, and providing a presentation that will be remembered long after your speaking engagement ends.
Giving a talk or speech is a lot like being an actor in a play. You’ll be able to talk confidently from the get-go if you know your lines. Start with a rough outline of your key talking points, and then get as detailed as you can on the important points to highlight.
From there, practice in front of a mirror, in front of friends or family members, or (perhaps most importantly) in front of a recording device.
Then listen to your practice sessions, make adjustments, and keep an ear out for verbal tics, such as saying “um” or repetitive “likes.” In all great endeavors, practice makes perfect.
You won’t use the exact words on the day, but your brain will have taken in the content. You won’t therefore stammer and clam up trying to remember “the script.”
Most folks talk faster than they realize when speaking in public. This is due to nerves and anxiety. They fear going too slow when presenting information to an audience. But more often than not, the exact opposite is true!
So slow down, and make sure every word is loud enough and clear. This also gives your brain more time to think before you move on. Besides, your audience is here because they want to take in what you’re telling them. Give them time!
When planning your talk, make sure you do it with your exact audience in mind. Think about what they want to learn or hear from your presentation, and use that as a guide for your outline.
You don’t have to prove your expertise, knowledge, or educational background. And you don’t have to come up with grandiose examples and verbiage that makes you sound impressive (like this sentence!). You’ve been invited to give the talk, so the event organizer is already impressed with your credentials!
Instead, focus on being yourself: genuine, authentic, congruent, whatever you like to call it.
In other words, bring your own personality, challenges, and everyday language to your speech. In this way, you’ll come across as a real person your audience can admire and perhaps emulate. This makes you – and your presentation – much more accessible.
Hearing information, data, and statistics is one thing. But finding personal anecdotes or real-world examples that your audience can relate to is what really fires up their imagination.
Think about the presentations or speeches that stick out in your memory. Chances are they resonated with you for a reason. Maybe there was a personal connection or example that has lingered long after the event.
In other words, think of ways your audience can relate emotionally to your information so it sticks.
Human beings have short attention spans. A monotone presentation gets tiring after just a few minutes. So keep your audience engaged by mixing it up! Have changes in
You might even, for example, poll the audience for their input at some point. It completely charges up the atmosphere. This kind of dynamic presentation will keep listeners’ engagement from start to finish.
Props can help ease your anxiety and engage your audience at the same time. Arm yourself with materials that can supplement your main talking points. These might include
Your audience is there because they want to hear your expert views, so allow them the opportunity to do just that! Reserve 10-15 minutes at the end of your presentation for the audience and tell them at the start that they’ll have this opportunity later on.
If you give them notice ahead of time, they’ll have a chance to think up good questions as your presentation unfolds, giving you more opportunity to inspire them – and more credibility.
While public speaking is a fear that most of us share, you can overcome it with practice and great material. Both of these will give you the confidence to carry it off well.
Of course, if your career’s starting to take off, and speaking engagement opportunities are starting to flow your way, you can always ask for help to ensure your success.
Please reach out to me and my team for more information on leadership training, presentations, or just help to navigate the world of publishing and career advancement. With our help, you can expand your reputation as a voice of authority, and continue to see an abundance of opportunities come your way.