Facing Fears – A Shark’s Take on Public Speaking

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Public speaking is an essential and unavoidable duty for many professionals. Despite its prominent role within many career fields, the task claims the top spot on the list of the most common American phobias. Positioned above death and spiders, it’s safe to say public speaking has left many stuttering and stammering in the spotlight. 

Whether you need to revitalize existing speeches or craft new ones, Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington shares his advice on perfecting the art of speech giving. An original shark and founder of the infomercial, we’re happy to pair with Harrington to bring you his personal tips and tricks.

Anecdotes

Storytelling is a great way to connect with audiences and capture attention. Personal anecdotes add a human element that allows you to relate to your listeners on a deeper level. After your speech, people will remember how you make them feel, not necessarily the specific details of what you tell them. Strive to make your audience feel assured in your abilities as a financial advisor by demonstrating an air of confidence and congeniality.

Foreshadowing

In the words of Voltaire, “The easiest way to bore someone is to tell them all you know.” Utilize the literary device of foreshadowing to pose a question or problem that your speech will eventually resolve. Refrain from leading with the bulk of your solutions! You can create more intrigue by hinting at what’s to come. Delve into the depths of your knowledge after you’ve already piqued your audience’s interest; they’ll be more eager to listen and will retain more information as a result.

Visuals

90% of the information we take in comes to us through our eyes. Visual cues serve as a powerful tool in making dense subjects more palatable. With presentation platforms like Prezi, Canva and Visme, you can easily create graphics to heighten audience attention. Gone are the days of the text-heavy PowerPoint; tools like Prezi transform the flow of speech giving, allowing speakers to move away from static presentations in favor of more dynamic models.

Humor

Humor can be a tricky tool to incorporate into a presentation. However, when executed masterfully, humor can lighten the mood of a room, liven up a crowd or even aid in explaining cumbersome concepts. On the other hand, failed comedic attempts open the door for awkward tension. Before preparing a speech, remember the key differences between humor and jokes. While humor exists within the framework of presentation and can serve as a playful tone, jokes often stand alone and demand a response from the audience. Avoid a potentially unpopular punchline by opting for a more subtle form of comedy.

Audience Participation

The best presentations feel like a conversation with the audience, listeners should leave feeling like you talked with them rather than at them. There are a variety of ways to encourage audience interaction, a few proven methods include questions, polls, games and group exercises. However, it’s crucial to make sure these approaches are tailored to your audience. Polling your audience with a “show of hands” question that yields only a couple of half-hearted hand raises can be detrimental to your presentation. Find ways to interact with your listeners in a way that’s topical and specific to the subject matter.

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