3 tips for improving your presentation skills

by | Feb 7, 2014 | Marketing & Selling

Carma Spence with Patricia Fripp

Carma Spence with Patricia Fripp at District One Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI) on January 25, 2014

Last month, I had the pleasure of finally meeting in person Patricia Fripp, a well-known and highly sought-after professional keynote speaker, executive speech coach, public speaking expert and sales presentation trainer. I interviewed her over the phone back in 2010 for my forthcoming book Public Speaking Super Powers and was elated when I discovered she was going to be speaking at Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI).

Even better, Fripp gave not one, but three presentations packed with juicy information on how to improve presentation skills. In one of them, she shared a three-step process for getting better at public speaking:

1. Uncover what you do well
Every body does something well, even in public speaking. And, especially with presentations, you want to focus on topics that you know so well that you might even take them for granted. When you know your topic and are passionate about it, you will more naturally and effectively engage your audience.

That said, you want to either find an audience that is interested in what you have to say or find a topic that is of interest to your chosen audience. In fact, Fripp said that “If there were one secret of giving a good presentation, it would be that your content is of interest to your audience.”

Content of interest to audience - Patricia Fripp

2. Uncover what you do that distracts from your message
There are many ways you can reduce the effectiveness of your presentation. More often than not, it is because you are doing something that distracts your audience from what you are trying to say. For example, you could be using nervous, ineffective or unconscious gestures. Or, perhaps your content isn’t organized in a way that makes following the flow easy and natural.

Find out where your areas of improvement lie, so that you can work on them.

3. Educate yourself
No matter how advanced you are as a speaker, there will always be something more you can learn. Find a speaking coach or mentor to help you improve. Barring that, read up on the topic, take classes or join a Toastmasters club to practice your skills.

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Now it’s your turn:
Do you have questions about public speaking you would like answered in a future post or video? Do you have advice to share that will help others with their presentations? Perhaps you’ve had the opportunity to hear Fripp speak and would like to share your experience. Please post a comment with your insights and wisdom below.

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