Project Management Q&A: Improving Your Public Speaking

I’ve been asked to do a 15 minute pitch to the senior management team as part of promotion opportunity. I’m not the world’s best public speaker any advice?

There are two things that I learned from great speakers early in my career. The first was to really know your material. The second was practice.

Did that get rid of the nerves?

No, not at all but when you know your material inside and out; you’ve tried it out in front of the mirror and a friendly face; you’ve timed it; you’ve got the right kind of prompts just in case you need to refer to something; you know what the setup in the room is going to be and who is going to be there – well then, it takes some of the unknowns out of the equation and helps to calm the nerves.

I also purchased a few books too about making presentations and I picked up tips that I still use today.

One thing you can start thinking about, once the promotion is in the bag, is how you can keep practicing – public speaking is like a muscle, it needs flexing.

Check out something like Toastmasters or meetups that focus on public speaking; alternatively, keep looking for opportunities both internally and externally to talk on project management topics. And make sure you also attend conferences and seminars so you can pick up further tips from the people who do it well.

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