We’re big fans of the power of presentations here at PGi. A well-executed presentation can change minds, open doors and steer the future of a company or career. Even if you’re equipped with the latest and greatest presentation tips, tricks and best practices, public speaking is still one of the most intimidating aspects of any presentation. In fact, comedian Jerry Seinfeld once made a joke about this phenomenon:
“I read a thing that actually says that speaking in front of a crowd is considered the number one fear of the average person. I found that amazing – number two was death! That means to the average person if you have to be at a funeral, you would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
Fortunately, the Internet is full of examples of public speaking superheroes: inspirational, talented figures who engage audiences across the globe. If you’re one of the millions that dread public speaking, get inspired by one of these speakers:
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy gave a fantastic TED talk in 2012 about the impact of body language and non-verbal communication. Her knowledgeable, energetic delivery, integration of humor and demonstrations of real-world applications of her work creates an engaging speaking experience.
Sir Richard Branson is the enigmatic founder of Virgin Group and a regular public speaker. Branson’s friendly, conversational style and tone can make even the largest audience feel like a comfortable chat among friends. In fact, when asked on Twitter about public speaking confidence, Branson wrote the following on his blog:
“Well, the best advice I can give is to picture yourself in a living room having a chat with your friends. You would be relaxed and comfortable talking to them, the same applies when public speaking. Try to forget there are hundreds of people watching you and get your point across in the same way you would to your friend.”
Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer for Facebook, is the best-selling author of Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, a book aimed at helping professional women achieve their career goals and helping professional men contribute to gender equality. As a public speaker, Sandberg engages with an honest tone, a sprinkling of humor and surprising data points about the challenges facing professional women.
Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple and Pixar, spent years capturing the tech world’s imaginations in his Apple keynotes and device launch presentations. I remember hanging on every word of the initial iPhone® announcement, not simply because of my own gadget lust, but because of the masterful way Jobs built tension and lead to his big reveal.
In one of his most famous public speeches, Jobs gave the commencement address at Stanford University and spoke candidly about his ups and downs at Apple and his struggles with cancer:
Looking for more insights on becoming a better presenter? Download PGi’s free eBook “The Little Black Book of Presentation Ideas” today!