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Public speaking: an entrepreneur’s guide

Public speaking often comes with the territory when you’re an entrepreneur. To communicate effectively with everyone from your employees and business partners to your investors and customers, you might frequently need to address groups of people. Don’t panic if this doesn’t come naturally to you. Many businesspeople, including some of the most successful entrepreneurs, have to work hard to overcome their nerves and to deliver engaging and persuasive talks. The follow guide should help you to hone your technique and become more comfortable in the spotlight.

Try to connect on a personal level

It’s easy for business-related talks to become too dry and technical. Although it’s often essential to convey a lot of information during presentations, it’s important to strike the right balance between getting the facts across and making a connection with your audience. Commenting on this issue, entrepreneur Chris Niarchos, Appco founder and chairman, revealed that he likes to use personal anecdotes to reach out to people during presentations. According to the renowned businessman, telling a story can help your audience to understand and follow your thinking.

Be prepared

Being prepared is a must for any presentation. So, before you step up to the podium, make sure you’re familiar with the wording of your speech. Knowing what you’re about to say will help you to keep your nerves in check and should make it easier for you to deliver your talk with confidence. Try to memorise as much of the material as possible, and if you need something to keep you on track, use prompts rather than simply reading scripts word for word.

If you’ll be using audio-visual equipment during your talk, make sure you know exactly how to work it before your presentation. This should help you to avoid any technical problems that could knock your confidence and make you look unprofessional.

Adapt your message to suit your audience

Always take care to adapt the tone and content of your talk to suit the people who will be listening. Bear in mind that while in certain scenarios, technical language can impress an audience, in others it can make people switch off. You’ll also need to decide how formal to be in your approach. For example, if you’re talking at a light-hearted event, cracking jokes and engaging with people in a relaxed way can be perfect, but for other types of event you might need to be much more formal.

Speak slowly

Under pressure, it’s natural to find yourself speaking more quickly than usual. As well as making it difficult for people to follow what you’re saying, this can result in you appearing nervous. So, when the moment of truth arrives and you start your talk, make a conscious effort to speak slowly. Take deep breaths when you pause between sentences too. This should help you to feel more relaxed and in control.

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