Business Tips: Talking In Front Of An Audience

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Business can be fun but when it comes to standing in front of an audience (however big this maybe) it can still be a bit nerve-racking! Broadcaster and TV presenter Ben Glover gives you some tips.

The scene was set: It was a car showroom open day. There was a small stage and literally a handful of people. I was just 19 years old and had never done anything quite so ‘big’ in all my life. Yet I found myself cowering at the back of the stage not able to compose myself and go on. Yes, I had spoken to thousand’s of listeners to my radio show – I just don’t get to see them!

I took one deep breath, had some reassuring words from my manager and found myself on this platform, nervous, not knowing what to say and what would be my first move. ‘Right, who wants to play for a chance to win a brand new car?’. Suddenly I had engaged my audience and a positive reaction enthused. From the thrill of that engagement I found myself on a roll. And from that moment on I never looked back.

Now I play to thousands of people when I DJ and recently performed in front of 50,000 party goers at the Isle Of MTV, Malta. Although pulling off a presentation in front of the boss or client is not quite the same as my industry, the principles remain; all eyes are on you to deliver. Here are some top tips I learned over the past 18 years of public service:

1) Confidence

It’s the ‘c’ word not many of us have. Although actually you have more of this that you know. Getting a good reaction from the moment go is the key here. Holding out your hand and looking someone in the eyes with a smile really works wonders. Sometimes the person or people you are about to ‘perform’ in front of are more nervous than you! Tell yourself, you are the boss and you are in charge. There is nothing arrogant in this – so long as you keep it to yourself and not let it display in your presentation.

2) Planning

Good broadcasters/presenters always plan for what they want to say. Get as much knowledge of your subject as possible, blow away your audience with something about them that they were not expecting. For example, I did a gig recently for Vodafone. They knew nothing on me yet I had gone onto Facebook (in a non-stalker way) and found pictures, facts about various people I knew were going to be there. I would research great achievements of that company in the past 12-months. Between songs I would mention things about them I had seen – suddenly I had become their best friend. My set was only 60 minutes long yet I spent three hours planning it. My point here is always go in over-loaded with knowledge of who you are talking too – they will engage.

3) The Show Rehearsal

‘Read aloud what you want to say’. The best advice I was ever given. I was offered the life long chance to broadcast across London on Capital Radio for three hours every Saturday night, something as a kids I had always wanted to do being a massive fan. Each time I spoke I was talking to a potential of 3 million listeners. Three million! I planned everything I was going to say around my music and between songs (before I opened the microphone) would read aloud everything I wanted to say. To passers by I looked like a nutter talking to myself. But it works, the brain embeds the information and it suddenly becomes easy. Use the mirror, best mates, family, record yourself on your iPad/mobile – you won’t believe how much this can help. Oh and incidentally I was offered a regular show. Job done.

4) The Show

Now is your time. Your audience awaits. This may sound a bit stupid but I always imagine myself as someone famous, the people I look up too. Johnny Vaughn is one of my favourite broadcasters; the enthusiasm he produces at every thing he does really is admirable. I even got to work with him once! Before many shows I get myself fired up by watching him on YouTube or hearing him on the radio, it really is infectious. Try and find someone you really admire (movie star, public speaker, world leader) and tell yourself what would they say or do? I usually find listening to music helps too. (Notice what footballers do before when they get off the team bus and head to the changing rooms).

Always keep the head up, speak slowly and marry your audience, become part of the team. Get people to remember you. Before literally tell yourself ‘I am going to do this!’ Three years after I left a radio station in the UK I still get e-mails, messages and even noticed in the street when I return to that area. This is not an ego thing, it was just nice to have left an impression.

5) Debrief ‘Failure is good, it is healthy’

Essential in moving on. If you had a bad presentation no point dwelling on what could have been. I sometimes get so angry about something I missed or had go wrong yet this is not a bad thing – it certainly means you are passionate!  I may have played a bad record, cleared the dance floor and literally been on a spiral to the depths of the earth! It is a horrible feeling when this happens. It doesn’t make you bad at what you do, just a case of saying to yourself, ‘What could I have done better? What will I not do or do next time?’ Often your biggest critics are your audience – get the feedback forms out there! Be prepared for the negatives though – this can eventually work in your favour.

6) The Down Time

Never spend any more time than you have too it what you do. My spare time is a world away from my broadcasting. I am a volunteer with the Red Cross and once worked with Hampshire traffic police. I enjoy my medical work so much that I have gone many steps further and as a result got myself qualified in ambulance response driving, first aid and now as an Emergency Response Technician. My point here is having something that you can achieve away from what you do, it is a great confidence boaster as well as mentally gaining. I am not saying go and join the army reserves or help re-build war-torn countries it could be as simple as a new language or even cooking a meal from a book.

Remember, you are in charge, you are looking to make an impression, gain personal achievement and importantly make in impression. Good luck – I know you can do this!

ImageBen Glover is a broadcaster , TV presenter and content writer. He started life on a radio station in Milton Keynes and has totalled his audience to almost over 8 million people since 1997 on stations such as Capital Radio, Galaxy FM and Global Radio. He continues in media today working for The Bay Radio Network, Malta where he presents, coaches and now helps manage the Mediterranean’s number one hit music network. And yes is available for party hire! Follow him on Twitter @GloveBoxGlover

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