When asked to deliver a speech in business, the pressure is ‘on’ to produce something that is valuable and engaging, to leave your audience feeling fulfilled. In addition to this, you will want to speak with confidence and clarity, whilst controlling any nerves. For your words to reach their full potential, you’ll hope for the audience to be convinced that your speech is natural and fluid, but it can be tricky to achieve this.
Here Emma from Race Furnitures explores some of the ways to help deliver your best speech yet.
It goes without saying that organisation is key. Having your speech prepared will be incredibly important, not only for fluency and value in what you are saying, but also to give you confidence as you speak.
For preparation, many people like to pre-write their speech content- even if they don’t use any notes during their final presentation. This is a good way of ensuring your speech is going to be of a thoughtful nature and will be much better quality than any ad-lib. At the same time, you will want to speak as naturally as possible, so lots of rehearsal will help you to present without the need for ‘looking down’ at notes or stumbling over words.
Being organised for a business presentation should also incorporate your surroundings, your seating, as well as your acoustics. Turn up early to your venue and consider, in advance, how you are going to use the space to create the best setting for your speech to be received.
Room set up
Connection with your audience is a priority. As much as possible, you want people to be supportive of you and it is up to you to create that atmosphere. Many business presentations also require interaction from listeners and one simple way to do this is to maximise the light as much as possible. By presenting in a well-lit or naturally-lit room, you are instantly inviting people to see you clearly and you can see them. This will help engagement too, as there are no dark corners for anybody to hide in.
The seating experts at Race Furniture believe that seating makes all the difference when you’re talking to a large audience. Whilst this may not always be achievable, if the seating is moveable and within your control, then semi-circle seating is the most ideal. Whilst you want your audience to be comfortable, a semi-circle style allows your audience to be close enough together that laughter can pass along from person to person (if you have a few lines to ‘liven up’ what you’re saying.) It also develops an inclusive atmosphere.
Anything from a sermon to a business speech relies almost solely on the sound. If a speaker cannot be heard effectively, not only is it uncomfortable for the audience to sit through, it makes your presentation almost redundant. Whilst it may seem obvious to mention the fact that you, as a speaker, must project your voice, there are other acoustic elements to take into consideration.
Might you need a microphone, for example? It is worth taking somebody along with you to your venue and get them to move to various parts of the room to check the sound. Remember, once there are bodies in the room, your voice won’t sound as loud as it does in an empty room, so you’ll need to factor in any equipment you might need.
If you do decide on a sound system, however basic or sophisticated, it’s a very good idea to have somebody to hand during your presentation, who knows how to use the system and can step in should you come across any difficulties.
Talking of technicalities, nobody wants things to go wrong. However, when it comes to using technology, many can identify with either giving a speech or listening to a speaker when things haven’t quite gone according to plan. For your business presentation, you may be using a projector or ICT technology. Make sure you know how to use these in advance of the day you are due to speak. Again, having somebody to support and assist the technology side of things for you when you deliver a business presentation is always going to be beneficial.
How to Present
Finally, once these practical aspects are in place, brush up on your presentational skills. Watch your breathing, learn timings, consider your audience and so forth.
Put all the above together and you should be able to deliver a business presentation at your best!