Embrace a large audience
by Amy Beth Miller, editor, Communication Briefings
If the thought of delivering a presentation to a large audience fills you with dread, you’re hardly alone. When we asked readers “Which speaking situations do you find difficult?” 64% said “Presenting to a large group.”
Whether you are speaking to five people or 5,000, careful preparation and rehearsals will allow you to speak with greater confidence. When you are speaking to a large group, take these actions too:
- Speak to individuals. Instead of facing a room full of strangers, connect with as many people as possible before you speak. Interview members of the group as you prepare your remarks, and arrive early to chat with attendees as they enter the room. If you are speaking at a conference, mingle with people in the day or two before you speak. Then you will be able to make eye contact with people you know, mention audience members by name and integrate their anecdotes into your remarks.
- Move around. If the room setup permits, walk around during your presentation, spending a few moments in every section. Walk as you make a transition, and then stop to deliver your point.
- Take a break. Ease some of the pressure on yourself and make the presentation more interesting for the audience by not speaking the entire time. Plan an exercise the audience can complete in small groups, share the stage with another presenter or show a video clip to illustrate one of your points.
Last month’s question
In our poll about difficult speaking situations, nearly two-thirds of the respondents said “Presenting to a large group” is a challenge, and 57% said “Talking with someone who is angry.” Those two answers far outpaced “Leading a meeting” (36%) and “Meeting new people” (21%) in last month’s poll, which allowed people to choose more than one answer.
If you are one of those people who dread talking with someone who is angry, check out Mastering Difficult Conversations, a toolkit that teaches you techniques for communicating with confidence in any situation. It includes sample scripts for 30 of the most common difficult conversations in the workplace.
Every Person’s Guide to Public Speaking
Give an outstanding presentation and the high fives and pats on the back keep coming. Stumble through a painful presentation and you’ll receive lots of pity—and maybe a few hidden snickers or eye rolls.
When it comes to presenting to a group of people, the devil is in the details. With enough preparation, anyone—everyone—can execute a presentation that wows. So even if you are terrified at the thought of public speaking, you can use your words to influence, motivate and spur people to act. And you can do it without all of the anxiety and pain.
Every Person’s Guide to Public Speaking guides you through each step in the process, from creating the perfect presentation to overcoming challenges that might throw you off your game. Commit to learning and implementing the training and you will build your confidence and become an impressive speaker.
This multimedia resource includes:
- The 15-minute video No Sweat! Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking, with a companion Trainer’s Guide and Viewer’s Guide.
- The 60-minute audio conference presentation Ensure That Your Message is Heard and Understood: Tips for Communicating Clearly and Concisely.
- A 68-page workbook stuffed full of best practices, guides, tips, quizzes and more.
- A Customizable, Print-Ready Forms CD that trainers and trainees can reference again and again.
Click here to receive the Communication Briefings E-Letter each month.