Overcome the challenges of public speaking: Tips for tech professionals (free PDF)

For many IT pros, having to deliver a pitch or presentation is a dreaded task. It doesn’t have to be that way. These tips from seasoned presenters will help you calm your jitters, communicate your message, and engage your audience.

From the ebook:

In the business world, speaking effectively is a must. Whether you are going on an interview, asking your boss for a raise (or a bigger budget), selling your product to bidders/purchasers, speaking with clients, giving a presentation, or rallying the troops for a long-haul network upgrade, you are going to need to be at your best with public speaking. The problem is, most schools don’t really give you much in the way of training for public speaking. That’s where I come in.

I was an actor for a long, long time. I did Broadway, some films (nothing to mention), a LOT of theatre, and even taught at a couple of universities. So I know my way around speaking. And I know how to make speaking easier for those who look at standing up in front of a crowd (or sitting in front a prospective boss) as a nightmare made real. Here are 10 simple ways to make that nightmare more like a dream.

1: Prepare
You have to know your material. And I’m not just talking about memorizing words and facts. I mean really KNOW your material. You can’t predict what is going to happen that might cause you to get sidetracked. Murphy’s Law dictates that something will happen. And when it does, it’s best to know where you are. That’s when a little acting trick will come in handy.

When you have a large script to memorize, the best way to do it is in chunks. But not just any chunk. It’s best to make a chunk all related material. For example: You’re giving a presentation on why your company should migrate to open source software. You could have five chunks to your speech: Intro to open source, Cost savings, Security, Reliability, Ease of use. With each of those chunks, you’ll have certain bits of information to know. But always know the names of those chunks. So when/if you get lost, you at least know which chunk you are on. If you know the information within that chunk well enough, you can get back on track.

This has helped me a number of times on stage. If I know the gist of a scene and I get lost, at least I know what the scene is about, so eventually I can right that ship. If I have no idea what the scene is about, I’ll never get that scene righted. Same thing with a speech. If you memorize just a big blurb of stuff and you don’t break it down, you’ll be adrift in a sea of information if you lose your bearings. If you get lost within a chunk, that sea becomes a lake and you can find your way back to shore fairly easily. Know your material!

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