PART 3: Glossophobia, or the fear of speaking in front of people, affects most people to some degree or another – whether it is in the form of sweaty palms or complete stage fright. Apply these tips to your repertoire today and gain the confidence you need to give a killer presentation.

Getting the message across
An old piece of advice reads that, when you are addressing an audience, they will only retain three key points. Make sure you have decided on three things you would like to leave your audience with and make these clear during your speech through repetition and emphasis. Choose wisely! Increase your credibility through well-researched facts and well-prepared arguments and make sure you are heard.

Using visual aids
Visual aids, such as PowerPoint presentations or slideshows, usually serve to bolster the point you are trying to communicate. Sometimes, however, they can hinder rather than help – make sure they are not distracting your audience with excessive effects, movement and colour, but also make sure they don’t lull them to sleep. Try not to transcribe your entire speech on your slideshow, as this will cause your audience to read what you are saying (while you are talking) and miss your well-prepared point.

Handling questions
Always leave time after your presentation for any questions your audience might have. Answer these questions calmly and slowly, admitting any weaknesses you might have. Once again, be honest about your limitations and only answer questions you are sure of. Make eye contact with your audience during this section, and think carefully in order to answer all possible elements of the question you have been asked. If you feel as though your Q&A session has turned into an interrogation, excuse yourself from any questions that are making you uncomfortable and handle them on a personal basis with the enquirer after your presentation. Never, ever enter into arguments or mud-slinging competitions – however tempting, it is not worth the credibility you will lose for it.

With these key principles in hand, you can look forward to a “Glossophobia-free” life. Good Luck!

Small Business Forum

The Small Business Forum is an independent network of entrpreneurs and small business owners established to encourage and support the creation, growth and development of small business in South Africa.

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