• Alexandra Horn

Public Speaking Tips using Improv

Dallas, Texas – Does the thought of delivering a speech make your heart rate spike? You’re not alone. Public speaking doesn’t come naturally to most people, and it often shows.


Don’t fret. Whether you’re in sales, or you’ve been asked to toast the bride, anyone can become a more confident, engaging public speaker and presenter with a bit of work….and using the techniques of improv is a perfect way to get there.


How does improv relate public speaking success? How is giving a giving a sales pitch in a hotel conference room similar to being on stage at an improv comedy club? Well, those two scenarios are more closely matched than you would guess.


Here at Improv to Improve we work with teams and individuals in the area of improving public speaking skills based on what makes for successful improvisation (check out our Presentation Skills Workshops for more info on the work we do with our Dallas-area clients).


Here are a three Public Speaking Tips from the world of improv you can use the next time you’re in a sales meeting, giving a presentation, or addressing your local PTA.




Public Speaking Tips:


Public Speaking Tip #1) Mistakes are okay In improv, there really are no mistakes, only opportunities. In public speaking, for the most part, the same is true.


The first rule, if everything isn’t going as planned, is don’t panic. Whether speaking in front of a large group, or giving a sales presentation to one person, if you get off track, or your PowerPoint dies, or your missing a few note cards….relax, and roll with it.


Use it to your advantage. Point it out, make a light joke and you’ll find an audience eager to support you. Have a brief chuckle, don’t belabor it, and move ahead. But your first reaction needn’t be to panic. Take a breath, acknowledge whatever the issue is, and step into it. Embrace the “mistake” and you’ll be surprised at the response.


In other words, don’t pull a Michael Bay (Google “Michael Bay CES Conference speech” if you don’t know what I’m talking about).


Public Speaking Tip #2) Happily Veer off Script Are you all prepped for your speech? Feeling comfortable about delivering what you’ve practiced? Great. Now get ready to go astray. Everyone in the room, including you, will benefit from you going off-script.


That might sound scary at first, but if you’re prepared, it’ll go way smoother than you imagine.

With public speaking, or giving a sales presentation, the fear of the unknown (or of tanking) can hold you back from really connecting with the audience and delivering a presentation that is memorable.


And the fact is, where you want a presentation to go, where you’ve planned for it to go, often isn’t where it ends up. And that can be a good thing. People ask questions, someone might throw out a new topic in a sales meeting. These are opportunities to engage and enhance your presentation, maybe add an anecdote. Thinking on your feet is about being in the moment and reacting. It’s not always going to be perfect, but it will be authentic. And people remember that.


(Feeling comfortable going “off script” and embracing the unpredictable are areas we cover when working with groups).


Public Speaking Tip #3) Body Language Matters

Body language is a key element in public speaking, having a significant impact on you the speaker, as well as the audience. It reveals a lot about you, your message, and your connection to whoever is in the room (or streaming it, or watching on video).


This is an expansive area, with a lot of room for coaching, but one tip that will help right away is to take be mindful of your body posture and positioning right before you begin and while presenting. Don’t take it for granted.


Before hitting the stage, or standing up to present in a meeting, take a second to purposely think about your posture and strike a confident, but open pose. An open pose sets the tone that there is a free flow of influence going both ways.


Also, right off the top, pause for a second, make eye contact and take a breath….that pause and the eye contact reduces your anxiety and the audiences.


Conclusion

As I noted at the top – it’s very common to feel anxious (or petrified) in a public speaking environment. But with a bit of work, not only will your confidence grow, but you’ll be able to deliver you can feel confident, but also deliver an engaging presentation that


Our Presentation Skills Workshop

Our programs do more than cover the basic skills of a winning presentation. We focus on the soft skills that are critical to presenting in a way that connects.


Delivering a strong presentation is key to “making the sale” and getting your message known.

We will help your team:

- Learn to think on their feet

- Confidently communicate your message

- Be active listeners

- Be authentic

- Improve body language and presentation skills


Delivering a strong presentation is key to “making the sale” and getting your message known.


If your looking for a fun, impactful public speaking and presentation skills workshop (Presentation Skills Workshop – Dallas) reach out and we can discuss.


You can contact Alex at Alex@improvtoimprove.org or Kayce at Kayce@improvtoimprove.org


Also, if you’re looking for a unique Team Building experience, check out our popular options – Team Building in Dallas

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Alexandra Horn

Co-Founder

Kayce Kuntz

Co-Founder

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© 2016 Improv to Improve.  Dallas, TX

Photography by Mimi van Amerongen