Tips to help you look and sound like an expert – public speaking

At a recent networking event with Mark Edmunds at Shooting Business the guest speaker Gavin Meikle (aka the Presentation Dr) gave such a great interactive talk that I wanted to share some of the content with you.

The chances are, if you have been asked to speak on a topic you already are a bit of an expert on the topic, but it never hurts to polish up a bit to ensure you look and sound even more of an expert.

In your audience you will have “cats and dogs” (stick with this!)

In every audience will be people that have characteristics of cats and those who are more like dogs. In groups we came up with what reach were like: dogs = loyal, obedient needed you and cats? More aloof, independent, self-reliant and can take or leave you!

How does this relate to all those faces looking at you? Well, you don’t need to worry about the dogs – they will be on your side already and will be with you whatever you say and do; it’s the cats you need to focus on, you will need to win them over you will need to be credible and demonstrate expertise, you’ve got to win them over – next time you do a talk see if you can spot them…!

There are 3 main ways we communicate:

  1. By the SPOKEN word
  2. By the WRITTEN word
  3. By BODY (language) & FACIAL (expressions) movements

There has been much research on the importance of each of the above (see more in this video Busting the Mehrabian Myth ) and I’m not going to enter this debate now. Let’s start with the non-verbal.

Raise your status with the following 5 tips

  1. Where do you stand? Or rather how do you stand? Your stance is vital to ensure you step up the credibility stakes. Ensure you stand with your feet hip width apart, toes straight or slightly outwards (try standing up now and point your toes in – how credible does that make you feel?!) and relax your shoulders, head up with eyes looking outwards.
  2. Keep your head still – that may sound a little funny but have you ever taken someone seriously whose head moves around a lot? Me neither!
  3. Use the ‘power of the pause’ and hold a silence
    Pausing projects confidence; try asking rhetorical questions with a pause to allow your audience time to pause and think (for some of us this can be excruciating!) – start to try it with your family and friends; ask a question and in your mind start to count slowly to stop you from filling the gap!
  4. Eye contact
    Making and holding eye contact gives credibility and authority. Don’t stare! About 3 seconds ish is about right for most people
  5. Vocal Variety
    if you are excited about something when you are talking – sound excited!
    If you are making a serious point, then slow your delivery down and sound and look serious.
    Speed? Most speakers present at an average of 120 words per minute. Vary the speed to fit the content. Too fast all the time and your audience will get dizzy and not be able to keep up, a bit like being on a fast train – its exciting but you can’t keep up with the images out of the window and too slow all the time and you will bore the audience! Variety is the spice of life!

Which one of the above will you focus on in your next talk or meeting to gain even more credibility?

If you would like to ensure you get my latest updates please sign up here: