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Incoming fourth year UBC Faculty of Management students will recall these 5 public speaking tips from my MGMT 340 Management Communication course.  It is a good review of what you learned so that you can exploit your public speaking skills in fourth year classes.  The more time and effort you put into your preparation and practice, the more successful you will be in public speaking situations. Remember that verbal communication in interpersonal “one on one” and “one to many” situations has been described by Warren Buffett as the single most important management skill he learned.

Compliments of Toastmasters International:
1. Know your subject and your speech. Read up on the topic until you are confident about the subject. It will reduce your anxiety and nervousness. Practice, practice, practice
2. Know your audience and your speaking location.  What are the characteristics of your audience? Age? Interest? What about the room. If you can do so, go to the room, check the acoustics (how do you sound onstage?), the public address system, and practice there well before the presentation.  Will all of the necessary equipment be there? Projector? Screen? Lapel mike? Clicker so you do not need to stand at your laptop?  All of these things will also help reduce your nervousness.  Call me paranoid, but I also like to have my presentation on a memory stick, my laptop, a DVD, and in The Cloud.  I have seen instances where these logistical considerations have prevented problems.
3. Never apologize. Do not draw attention to any small mistakes you may make. If you apologize for a minor error you will draw attention to it.  Your audience wants you to succeed….believe it or not.
4. Imagine yourself giving a great speech.  Visualize success. See yourself making important, valid points to connect you with your audience, using eye contact and appropriate gestures.
5. Focus on your message, not on yourself.  This will also help minimize your nervousness. Find the passion to entertain, motivate or inspire your audience. You will find your purpose.

Post Author: David Mayes

Founder, Mayo615 Technology Partners Ltd., UBC adjunct faculty, Intel alumnus, technology assessment, international business, cleantech, fly fisherman, native Californian and citizen of France, who has been very fortunate to have traveled, lived and worked all over the globe. My wonderful wife, Isabelle has reintroduced me to my French Provençal heritage.

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