Whether you're simply speaking at an open house, addressing your entire company or taking over a panel, below are six ways to really rock your public speaking—and don't worry, I'm not going to tell you to picture anyone in their underoos.
Create a speech map. Instead of (or in addition to) writing everything down on note cards, try associating certain topics you want to address with objects in a room of your house. Then, once you're ready to address your audience, take a mental tour of the room and stop on every object to pick up the topic you dropped there. This is also known as a Roman Room map, because it was a technique used by the Romans, since they couldn't exactly make a quick slideshow on their iPad...
Focus on smiling faces. This tip comes from Rick Conley, president and instructor at Real Estate Education Services, Inc. By staring at those who look downright joyful to be in your presence, you will feel less pressure and more confident. “Every audience is different depending on location, time of day, the weather, and a lot of things going on in their lives,” says Conley. While it may take a moment for you to get on the same page as your audience, focusing on those big ole grins will help you breathe easier.
Practice. We all know practice makes perfect, so don't just write out your talk, actually practice it. Do it in front of the mirror. Repeat it on the drive to work. Say it in the shower. Say it ad nauseam to your spouse over dinner until they want to fling their peas at you. Don't let that stop you, either. Catch those green babies in your mouth and keep on practicing.
Don't forget body language. No one will ever want to buy your listing or take your advice if you don't seem confident, at ease, and trustworthy. What your body is saying is just as important as what your mouth is saying, so be sure your body language reads well. Don't cross your arms in front of your chest, which can make you seem guarded. Don't stare at the ground when speaking, which can make you seem disengaged and insecure. Instead, bounce your gaze around the audience, keep your arms relaxed at your sides (no fidgeting!) and don't forget to breath.
Keep it simple. There is no need to get poetic. This is especially true if you're speaking to a room full of potential clients; Shakespeare never tried to sell a house. “REALTORS® tend to forget how important a decision and purchase this is because we do it everyday,” says Gordon Miles, president and COO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties. “For the majority of the public this only happens a few times in a lifetime, so be sure your communication is on their level.”
Humanize the audience. Speak to your audience—be it a whole room full of people or one client—like you're on the same level. “Humanizing allows the audience to relax and feel you are one of them, not above them or some alien,” says Conley. “I am one-on-one with them, and I tell them that. I am no better than they are; I just happen to have some information to share.”
So, what are your top public speaking tips?
Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia's Associate Editor. When not searching the web for info on small-space living, Zoe can be found writing fiction and screenplays, cooking and drinking copious amounts of coffee.