For many people, pubic speaking tops their fear factor list, even more than death and divorce. But giving a presentation or speech doesn’t have to be such a daunting task. By following a few simple steps, you can make your presentation more effective and memorable.

Here are seven tips that will help.

  1. Get to the point. Make a statement of impact at the very beginning. There’s no need to meander into your presentation. Hit your audience with the reason you are there.
  2. Tell a personal story. It can be very effective to share a personal story or experience, but it must have relevance that demonstrates the point you want to make. In some instances, stories about what children say or do can be both entertaining and are particularly effective when audience members are parents or grandparents.
  3. Use a rhetorical question. This technique is one of the most effective ways to get your audience thinking. For example, “We all want to provide the best customer service possible, don’t we?”
  4. Project into the future or look into the past. Ask your audience to imagine with you about how things could be different going forward or to illustrate how much things have changed over time.
  5. Use humor. Using humor is very risky. Even the best presenters can come off as sarcastic or insensitive. If you do attempt humor, make sure the story or joke has a point. If you don’t, you have no business telling a joke. And make sure the story is appropriate and will not offend your audience.
  6. Metaphors. These fabulous tools will bring your language to life, but be careful. Do not make the mistake of mixing or misstating your metaphor.
  7. Quiz your audience. Everyone likes to test their own knowledge in an entertaining way. Throw out a question and let them shout out guesses.

What process have you used to prepare for a public speaking engagement? Tell us how you overcome nerves and make your presentations memorable in the comments section below. You may also share your thoughts on Twitter at #mcgblog.

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