If you thought public speaking wasn’t relevant to your business, then definitely think again. Because whether or not you or your team have to stand up and address an audience, whether thats colleagues, prospects, clients or suppliers, it still counts so being effective is a key skill.

Take meetings for example, they are part and parcel of business life so, love them or hate them, you cannot avoid them. Learning presentation skills can make your meetings run more smoothly, and help you to engage more fully and more confidently with clients.

To get the most of meetings, follow these six tips:

  • Make sure you have prepared your knowledge/experience/input so you have the confidence to get involved in the discussion and back up your points if required.
  • Be brave. You may have employees who worry about confrontation. Confrontation need not be negative. It is an opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions and to debate, and the ultimate decisions will be all the more sound for it. Just one person not contributing can lead to a skewed/sub-optimum conclusion.
  • Actively listen (paying attention both to verbal and non-verbal cues, and providing eye contact to show that you are listening). Communication is a two-way process and listening is as important as speaking.
  • When you are speaking, body language is just as important as verbal communication, so be conscious of what message you are sending with your body language.
  • Have value and belief in your ideas and deliver them with conviction rather than hesitation.
  • Have sponsors (or volunteer to be a sponsor) for tasks required at the end of the meeting, otherwise the discussion will not actually lead onto anything, which may arouse feelings of futility about this and future meetings.
Chris Dawes is a professional sports commentator and public speaker and trainer, helping clients to communicate with confidence. www.opendawestraining.co.uk/public-speaking-coaches