Public Speaking: The Lesser-Known Role of a PR Pro

SVP of Digital Content Heidi Sullivan speaking at PR News' Social Media Measurement Conference in October 2012.

SVP of Digital Content Heidi Sullivan speaking at PR News’ Social Media Measurement Conference in October 2012.

Joseph

Joseph

This guest post is by Gina Joseph, social media community manager at Cision.

My background is in journalism and I’ve been a social media community manager for a while now, so I’m used to my voice coming from the letters on my keyboard and the words on a page. Yet, there are times when you just have to come out from behind the Twitter handle and talk to people…out loud!  It’s a part of the job I happen to enjoy—it’s nice to stop staring at a screen now and then. And since I’m co-hosting my very first webinar this month, I thought some tips on public speaking were in order. Whether you are a PR pro prepping a client for an interview or if you are a blogger going to a convention, the time is going to come when knowing how to talk to a large group of people will come in handy!

Avoid the ums and ahs
It’s public speaking 101, but if you can avoid a lot of those utterances we seem to automatically spit out between thoughts, you’ll sound more professional. One job-interviewing tip I’ve always used is to simply take a moment. Pause and gather your thoughts before continuing. A brief silence is ok!

Be prepared…but not robotic
I plan on doing some research and writing down a few points I want to remember to say during our webinar. I think being prepared makes you less nervous, and doing the legwork will allow you to maybe discover some points you didn’t even think of before. However, try not to read off of a piece of paper or memorize your points verbatim. You don’t want to come off as stiff.

Smile!
If you smile you’ll look or sound like you’re enjoying yourself—which in turn helps the audience relax.

Be conversational
Whether you are conducting a webinar, speaking on a panel or being interviewed, just remember the people you are talking to are humans, just like you. It’s all just a conversation! So really listen to what others are saying, give your input, and feel free to laugh if something is funny!

Lastly, tell yourself you are confident, and you will come across as confident
As my dad always told me, “Pull your shoulders back, sit up straight, look people in the eye!” They’re there to hear what you have to say, because you know your stuff!

Do you have any tips that are tried and true for you?



2 replies
  1. @Ramon_DeLeon says:

    When I hit the stage I always remember make sure to meet and make friends with the A/V team and check all your slides on their equipment beforehand. In no specific order I share the following:

    Hydrate days before and stay that way
    Know where the receiver is for the wireless signal from the hand held clicker
    Greet people if possible as they take their seats
    Add examples relevant to the city/country/industry you are visiting to make your ideas relate
    Keep your pockets empty
    If people take photos during your session stop so they get a focused picture to share
    Add your twitter ID to slides and ask people to share what you want
    Provide Live Bloggers content , graphs or images ahead of time
    & make your your message is not only heard but felt!

    Have a great time!

    #RamonWOW
    Global Keynote speaker on business & social media
    Chicago

    Reply
  2. @CisionNavigator says:

    Hi Ramon, great tips! I especially like your suggestion to keep examples relevant to the area you're visiting, and to provide content to live bloggers ahead of time. Great things to keep in mind, thanks!

    Reply

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