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How to capture your audience like a pro

Exude confidence when speaking in public
By Entrepreneur Staff |

At some point in your entrepreneurial career, you would have to speak before an audience. Whether making a sales pitch or negotiating with your employees, public speaking can be daunting and very stressful.

Here are 10 ways to turn that nerve-wracking situation into an opportunity for successful communication.

1.  Practice your lines out loud.
Listen to the way you pronounce words, and check if you convey sincerity and actually mean what you say. If not, change the words of your speech or presentation until you are sufficiently comfortable with the words that are coming out of your mouth.

2.  Walk off your nervousness.
Before a presentation, walk outside the building and get some fresh air if possible.

3.   You need only two to three main points to make in your presentation.
Stick to these points, and do not attempt to cover more, for this would only lead to information overload. If you or your audience feels that you need to cover more ground, ask for a second appointment. Remember, it may take several presentations before you could actually seal the deal.

4.   Keep your presentation simple.
Use less words, instead of more. Don’t expect your audience to become experts on the topic after your talk or speech.

5.  Humor can go a long way.
First to break the ice, and secondly, to help the audience get comfortable with you from the get-go. However, use humor appropriately.  Find out who will be attending the presentation, and adjust your spiels accordingly.

6.  Take care of your stance and gestures.
Placing your hands on your hips and pointing at the audience are scolding poses, and give you the appearance of preaching.

7.  Be friendly, and always keep your temper in check.
This will give you an aura of confidence. If the audience is hostile, or if a particular questioner becomes aggressive, do not attempt to put him down. Answer him like you would a friend, and you might just win him to your side.

8.  Keep calm in the face of difficult questions.
The fact that people ask you questions shows that they are interested in what you are saying. If there is a query that you could not answer without making a fool of yourself, promise the questioner that you would take note of his question, and that you would get back to him as soon as you have the answer. And keep your promise.

9.  Speaking in public is not inherently stressful.
Coming into a situation unprepared is what makes public speaking stressful. As long as you prepare thoroughly for the occasion, be assured that you would be sufficiently prepared to deliver a successful presentation.

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10.  Conclude smartly.
Prepare appropriate closing remarks, and a statement summarizing the essential points for your audience to remember.

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