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Public speaking

Most of us have to do some form of public speaking in today's work life - whether it's a zoom call, a networking introduction, a presentation to a work team or a client - or even on stage.

Do not beat yourself up for feeling nervous. You are an expert in your business not a public speaking expert. And that is why people want to listen to what you have to say. Today I gave a talk on exactly this to 40 brilliant business women.

As well as being a personal stylist, I have a television background and have worked with lots of different presenters and written lots of scripts. They need help, training, practise and it's their job. So why shouldn't you expect that you need the same?

Where to start? Focus on the 3 parts of your public speaking.

  1. Your Image. Does it marry with your brand? You only have 9 seconds to make a first impression. What do you want your image to say without you even saying a word? Dependable? Approachable? Inspiring? Authoratative? Start by working out what you want your image to portray about you and your business. You can help portray this firstly through colour as this has a psychological impact. For example black may help you look authorative but perhaps safe and austere and lacking in imagination; green underlines trust as in nature if you see green you have a water and a food source so you feel safe. Should you be wearing your brand colours? Use accessories and your style to underline your image. A legal expert for instance may not feel confident wearing shirts with ruffles and lots of jewellery. Ensure YOU feel the best version of yourself and therefore more confident in what you're wearing. It's the strongest starting point before you even open your mouth.

  2. Content. Spend time on the arc of what you're saying - ensure you lead your audience easily through the steps of your presentation. You know what you're talking about but it doesn't mean that it resinates speedily to those listening. As my first television series producer kept on repeating to me, 'keep it simple, stupid'. Do you want to use graphics, slides or hand outs? Will this support your talk or will it distract you? If you do, practise with all these elements and ensure the grammar and spellings have been double checked by someone other than you. A single typo will undermine all your hard work and credibility. Be prepared for questions, don't let them throw you. Think through possible answers beforehand.

  3. Delivery. Are you going to be using a microphone? If you are, I'd recommend practising with it in the room you'll be speaking. Is it one you need to hold very close or do you 'pop' when you speak your 'p's for instance and need to ensure you hold it away from your lips. Remember to vary your approach depending on your audience. Even if it's a speech you've done before a tailored approach will make a real difference. Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse. If you have to do a netorwking pitch in 60 seconds, practise to make sure it fits in 60 seconds. Don't speak quicker so no one catches what you're saying, cut your content and reiterate how people can contact you so they can find out more. Clarity in your delivery is paramount. Not the amount of words you squeeze in. Record yourself on your phone so you can see how you come across.

Prepare so if at short notice you are asked to speak you are ready for that opportunity. You have something perfect to wear that you feel confident in and you have content ready to 'tweak'.

I do have a half day course that I run on public speaking, please contact me if you'd like to know about the next one or I can run one specifically for your company:


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