Managing corporate travel requires a lot of spoken communication. On any given day, you may be on the phone with vendors, meeting the finance department to discuss a budget report or holding an information session with employees. So good public speaking skills are a must. But if the thought of giving a presentation makes you feel a little bit ill, we’ve compiled some helpful tips on delivering a great presentation.
- Tell a Story
People remember good stories. If you’re presenting information about travel policies to colleagues, include a story or two relating to the topics at hand. For example, explain your need to enforce travel protocol with a story about what happened when a traveler failed to check in 36 hours after their plane landed. Not only will anecdotes make your speech more engaging, they can help drive home the need for everyone to follow specific travel procedures.
- Don’t Apologize
You may accidentally skip part of your speech, or stumble over your words because of nervousness. Several public speaking experts say the same thing when they address these cases: Don’t apologize to the audience. They likely haven’t noticed, and saying you’re sorry may just draw their attention to your anxiety. Simply continue with your speech. If you just remembered something you forgot to include, finish whatever point you were making first before you present the point you skipped.
- Remember That You’re Informing Them
While it may feel like your audience members are in the position of power, scrutinizing you and your every move, it’s actually the opposite. Your audience members aren’t there to judge you for your delivery—they’re there to learn from you. Whether you’re discussing the list of approved vendors or the money spent on air travel in the last quarter, keep in mind that you’re offering something of value that they need to hear.
- Use Your Strengths
This tip comes from Desiree Moore at the Daily Muse: “[If] you’re great at explaining complex concepts in simple terms or if you have a dynamic, engaging personality, make sure you’re incorporating and highlighting these qualities throughout your presentation.” In other words, incorporating your personal strengths into your speech can help you deliver information in a memorable way. As a bonus, it may give you more confidence to know that you’re doing what you do best as you address your listeners.
- Practice Your Speech
The last thing you want is to see someone glancing at their watch when your presentation goes over time. Practicing your speech beforehand will help you gauge its length—a critical factor if you’re presenting to C-level executives. It will also help you identify spots where you may struggle to say certain phrases smoothly. Obviously, it’s better to identify and correct these problems before you give your speech, rather than trying to deal with them when you’re presenting to your colleagues.
- Have Print-Outs for the Audience
Will you be giving a PowerPoint presentation? Have printed copies of your slides for the audience. They’ll be better able to follow along and take notes as you talk through each slide, and if for some reason the projector or computer aren’t working, they’ll still have a reference to look at during your talk.
- Remember That the Audience Is On Your Side
In addition to thinking of yourself as providing value to your audience, also remember that the audience wants your presentation to be a success. Again, they aren’t there to criticize and judge, and they can relate to the nerves you may be experiencing. So relax—there are people who have been in your shoes, and they won’t be harsh if your presentation has a blemish or two.
Keep these tips in mind when you prepare for the next time you have to deliver a presentation, and you’ll be on your way to giving a great speech.
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Also published on Medium.