Public Speaking

By claire |

picture-2Last evening I had the pleasure of speaking on the PR Professional Panel hosted by the NYU Women in Communications Club and the NYU Comm Club.  Accompanied by a lovely dinner and scintillating conversation with professionals from such esteemed PR firms as  Quinn & Co. and FerrenCom, the event was a wonderful evening centered around sharing thoughts and ideas. The discussion covered a range of topics from the affects of digital media and the current recession on the PR industry to tips and advice to landing a job and navigating today’s fast-paced PR landscape.

Have you ever found yourself speaking on a panel and nervous about what to say? Here are a few quick tips to make your next public speaking experience successful.

1. Do your homework.

Before you arrive at the speaking engagement, make sure you have researched the hosting organization, as well as the other panelists.  Ask your contact for a list of questions and a list of the other panelists, as well as any other information that you may need to know before you speak. If this information is not available, focus your research on the hosting organization and topic of the panel, so you can anticipate the types of questions that may be asked.

2. Find your key points.

Make sure you walk into the panel or speech with your three main points selected. Figure out the three key things that you can not leave the panel without addressing. That way, if you don’t have access to any information prior to the panel you at least know what you want to weave into your answers. Don’t forget to remember who your audience is, and include information that may be interesting and relevant to them in your notes.

3. Listen to the other panelists as they speak.

It can be easy to let your mind wander when it is not your turn to speak. Stay engaged as all of the other panelists take their turns speaking. Bring blank note cards and a pen to jot down any thoughts or questions that may be sparked by what your fellow speakers say.

4. Be personable and energetic!

Approach your speech with passion and enthusiasm. Engage your audience by asking rhetorical questions and providing real-life examples. Look directly at the audience when you speak. Being a dynamic speaker not only reflects wells on the company you represent, but also makes you feel confident! Answer all questions asked to you thoroughly, and address that speaker by name whenever possible. Be open to one-on-one questions and networking after the event. And don’t forget to bring business cards–you never know who you might meet!

Next time you find yourself in a public speaking situation, keep these tips in mind and your speech will be smooth sailing. Don’t be too nervous, your confidence in your abilities (or lack thereof) will be reflected in your speech, so hold your head high and speak up!

And finally, a big thank you to the Women in Communications Club at NYU and the NYU Comm Club for hosting such a wonderful event!

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