Lauren Ferraro, public speaking coach for Your Voice Unleashed, puts public speaking best practices into perspective for small business owners.
Ferraro specializes in coaching senior executives and business professionals on how to master successful verbal communication practices, and deliver persuasive keynote speeches and corporate presentations.
From the importance of staying loose to finishing with confidence, Ferraro’s five steps will arm you with the skills you need to pitch more effectively. Watch the video and read the complete transcription below!
Notice the difference between addressing an audience like this [slouching] and addressing an audience like this [standing straight].
The bad news is you can’t get rid of nerves but the good news is you can learn how to control them. And that all happens through effective preparation.
Step 1: Stay Loose
Get physical with your pitch. By doing that, you get your script in your body. Because when you speak to an audience you speak to an audience with your feet, with your knees, with your hands—that energy resonates out to your potential client. So, forget about memorizing and get physical.
Step 2: Be Mindful of Pace
If you relate to either mumbling or speaking too fast, here are a couple of things I want you to do. Over-articulate everything that you say. If you’re the person who speaks super fast because of nerves or maybe because you just want to get it done and get it over with, I want you to take a couple of seconds to say each word. I’m just trying to build a new cadence in your body because your body is used to going lightening-fast.
Step 3: Take a Breather
Breathing is a crucial element when learning how to deliver a pitch or public speaking. And we don’t have to go into anything over-complicated. You’re going to take a breath in and exhale on an “f”—it’s super simple.
Step 4: Practice Your Posture
Let’s just say you’re sitting at a boardroom table and you’re delivering the budget. Now, you’re not standing up and presenting but you still want to hold some status and maintain authority. What I want you to do is to think of your tailbone as going down into the chair. And the opposite, I want you to think of the top of your head as going straight up into the ceiling. So, I want you to soften your chest and equally, I want you to drop your shoulder blades. Think of your shoulder blades as sliding down your back.
The bad news is you can’t get rid of nerves but the good news is you can learn how to control them.
Now, to get up you want your feet to be hip-width apart. That’s probably the most natural stance. So, don’t lock your knees—keep them just slightly loose. Gesture because words move you, you need to move your hands, but keep them just resting at belly button-level. And this is how you naturally deliver.
Step 5: Finish with Confidence
My last piece of advice for you is to try not to end your presentation on a doubtful tone by apologizing excessively if something went wrong. Or saying, “I hope you enjoyed my presentation.” No, you need to know that you did a great job regardless of what possibly went wrong. Just end on a positive note… So, I hope you enjoyed that. Sorry to take up your time.