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17 May 2018

Becoming a Confident Public Speaker

At the beginning of this year, I was given the wonderful opportunity to experience a full-day workshop with The Public Speaking Academy. As you probably know I would love to become a professional speaker one day (See my goals blog post), and this course took me one step closer to that dream. 

The Public Speaking Academy (PSA)

PSA is an organisation that teaches you how to become a great public speaker, and even more importantly they show you how to do it. They do this through their interactive, energetic and friendly workshops. They run their workshops all year round in various locations including Sheffield, Manchester, London, Birmingham, and Leeds.

Their trainers are professional speakers who deliver workshops and training in a positive and supportive way that works for each individual.

Instructor Lee Furness: Entrepreneur. Coach. Adventurer.

From the beginning of the Workshop Lee was welcoming, friendly and very approachable. Within minutes of starting the course, he got a few of us up speaking in front of the group. His encouraging and positive approach made you feel comfortable on stage. He gave some live coaching on appearance, posture and voice projection, giving you the confidence to improve on the spot. Lee is great at seeing your potential and helping you to discover it also to share it with the world.

Structure of the Day

The day was set in two main parts; a morning session and an afternoon session.

Tackle Your Fears + Public Speaking
In the morning session, we got to explore the reasons why public speaking brings so much fear to many of us and how we can conquer these fears. Through interactive participation, we all got to face our fears and use different techniques to eliminate them.

Top tips include:

  • Stand confidently (in the centre) 
  • Speak slowly and clearly 
  • Make eye contact and use hand gestures to keep your audience engaged 

Being able to practice and learn from each other as a group was a wonderful experience. It helped us to get to know each other and support each other throughout the workshop.

Public Speaking with Confidence
In the afternoon we got to learn about how to tell your story with confidence. Through a series of exercises, we got to develop and structure a short presentation about ourselves: who we are and what we do.

Source: Lee Furness (PSA) 
I found this session the most helpful as I learned how to engage with the audience and leave a lasting impression. Being able to confidently present a talk or share your story with an audience is a very powerful skill to have.
I feel that I was able to use the methods taught to present more confidently and to enjoy being in front of an audience at the same time.

Biggest Takeaway - Lessons

1 - Body Language
Body language accounts for over 70% of communication, so having the right body language when speaking in front of an audience is very important. Having a confident stance, eye contact, and hand gestures while you speak all contribute to becoming an incredible speaker.

2 - Structure your Presentation
Having a clear structure to your presentation helps you to stay focused when you deliver your talk and helps the audience to follow your presentation. You do this by having a clear start/opening, main body and ending with a call to action for your audience. Throughout your main section, you may want to also include questions to your audience so that you can interact with them and have a better connection.

3 - Connect with the Audience
An audience can consist of many different people who all have their own agenda, and being able to connect with them will help you hold their attention. If for any reason some people are not focused on you, make sure to:

“Engage with those who are engaging with you.” 

This was the biggest lesson for me; that I should focus on those who are engaging with me so that I can continue my presentation with ease.

Source: Lee Furness (PSA) 
At the end of the day, I came away with a new set of skills in my public speaking toolkit, more confidence, and some new connections, thus increasing my network. The people I met on the day were all impressive people doing some amazing things in life and in business. I am so grateful to for the opportunity to learn and experience these powerful public speaking techniques.

I want to say a special thank you to Lee Furness for inviting me to the event.

Natalie-Claire x 

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