While growing up, public speaking was an art I gladly avoided. Can it be blamed on my introverted nature or I just didn’t see the need to face a crowd and speak? Let’s just write! Getting to the university, I had to embrace presentations, I had no other choice anyway, and failure was not one.
It’s a no-brainer that some people are good with writing and public speaking, but for people like myself, if we had to choose, no need to think twice.
I have realized there’s no escape though, if one desires to leave his/her comfort zone, the need to speak to a group of people will definitely arise. I think I learned the hard way though. In the university, it was quite easy, I’d just read through my paper, not minding if anyone grasped what I said or not. That would have caused a reduction in my grades though.
But then, I had to face it again and this time, there was no paper to read through! I wrote about my experience and shared some tips.
I have discovered that making presentations is far from reading and explaining whatever you have. If you are unable to carry your audience along, by tickling their fancy and making them curious enough to pay attention, it is rarely regarded as a good presentation. Most times, you’d hear some people in the audience complain and tag the presentation “boring”.
How presentations start matters, it is necessary to get their attention from the start as this is only assurance they will stick to you till the end of the presentation.
I have come up with 4 great ways to start any presentation. Stay with me.
1. Play a short video.
People are more attracted to visuals, they get more captivated and will definitely want to hear what you have to say. It is important to keep the video short but intriguing. I have listened to a few people who started their presentations with short but interesting videos, and believe me, it’s a “get my attention at first sight”. LOL.
2. Tell a story.
A short and captivating story is another brilliant way to get your audience glued to you. While I was young, each time anyone is ready to tell a story to my siblings and I, most times, to get our attention or stop us from doing something, we become drawn to the person. Personally, I love listening to stories and I’m sure most people do too. So, it’s certainly a great way to capture the minds of your audience.
3. Ask a thought-provoking question.
A rhetorical or thought-provoking question is a sure way to get people thinking and cause them to listen to the speaker. It is worthy of note that this question must be in line with the context in which you’re speaking on, going off-topic is certainly not the way to go.
4. Tell a shocking fact or statistic.
Again, this has to be in line with the main purpose of your presentation. There are so many shocking and interesting facts in this world that most people are not aware of. Recently, I found out that Nigeria has the third highest rate of infant and maternal mortality in the world! Did you know that?? No matter how ignorant people might be, their ears are always open to shocking facts.
In a bid to further quench my timidity and embrace public speaking, starting a YouTube channel has been on my mind lately. I know it’s the camera I’ll be speaking to, but sooner or later, people will watch. Even though there is a difference between speaking to a non-living thing and a thousand human beings.
Are you more of a writer or a speaker? Share your experience in public speaking if you have one. What other ideas do you have to ace presentations? Please, share in the comments section. Thank you!