Kristin Link, ReBoot Accel alum, public speaking coach, and owner of Link Coaching, recently taught a workshop for current and rising women entrepreneurs called, “A Persuasive Pitch is an Entrepreneur’s Best Tool.” Kristin also has provided coaching to the ReBoot Accel team regarding presenting on camera. Always eager to share what we’ve learned, we asked Kristin to share her top public speaking tips for all women returning to work, whatever path they choose.
#1 Public speaking is a learned skill. Natural born speakers are few and far between, the rest of us will need to develop a growth mindset and believe that we can learn public speaking. Training will provide you with techniques, tips and coached practice to increase your confidence and help you develop your personal style. Always keep in mind that being shy and nervous are feelings, not traits, which you can learn to manage.
#2 Preparation creates confidence. I recommend developing a bulleted outline (not a word-for-word script) and practicing it aloud in a setting similar to your public speaking event with a friendly low-risk audience. This could be with a coach, a former colleague, the right family member, or a supportive friend. How do you get to that outline?
- Create a schedule with due dates for researching your topic
- Draft your outline
- Practice with and refine your outline 5-10 times
- Develop a visual-centric (vs. text-centric) slide deck that will enhance your key points
- Practice with and refine your presentation and slide deck, reviewing video of yourself, if an option
#3 Know your audience. A presentation is always about your audience, not you. Think of her as inviting you to – “inspire me,” “engage me,” “speak to what concerns me,” and, “please keep it concise and attention-worthy.” When you arrive, network to begin building an understanding of and relationship with your audience. If you have a chance to observe prior to your turn at the mic, do so. What’s resonating with your audience? Then engage them actively throughout your presentation, by addressing what matters to them, confirming that they understand your key points and that your key points are connecting with their interests and needs.
#4 Quickly capture attention with a story. Start your presentation with an engaging story which focuses on emotions, not facts, to create an immediate human connection with your audience. Telling stories about yourself in first person narrative actually creates a physical reaction by releasing a surge of oxytocin, which builds trust and compassion among people. Compel them to want to hear more of what you have to say.
#5 Pause. That’s it. PAUSE. A well timed pause, right before or after you say the good stuff, the critical pieces of information you want your audience to retain, creates a moment. A moment they’re bound to remember. This piece of advice I pass along from my father and my grandmother, so you know it has to be good. I remembered it.
Kristin Link has a B.S in Computer Science and spent her first stage career at Hewlett Packard in engineering, sales, and marketing before landing in her sweet spot, training. Kristin paused her career for caregiving and recently returned to paid work by founding Link Coaching. There she develops and delivers coaching and training on a variety of leadership skills including managing and overcoming public speaking stress, understanding your audience, identifying key points, creating content, presenting on camera, and mastering delivery skills. Kristin shares that one of her reentry success factors was meeting with mentor, Nathan Gold, The Demo Coach who encouraged her to go for it and help others do so as well.
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