Every speaker knows the importance of being prepared. And every speaker who has taken the podium for more than a minute knows how easy it is to forget that painfully prepared speech.

Note cards don't work; they just get in the way. Mind maps and methods are a big step in the right direction.

However, using visuals can keep you on track and add another dimension to the talk to help better involve both the ears and eyes of the audience.

With current technology, there are many easy ways to bolster your presentation and make you feel more comfortable and prepared.


Benefits of Public Speaking Skills

Even born speakers must work hard to get a message across clearly. Whether you take a public speaking class or join a group like Toastmasters to work on your speaking skills, the rewards are abundant.

Here are a few examples of what can be gained:

• Your self esteem will be bolstered.

• Others will see you as more valuable.

• Your personal network will grow.

• You will be better prepared to deliver a reasoned response on the spot.

Investment expert, billionaire Warren Buffet, tells Forbes that learning to speak well in public can boost your earning potential by 50 percent. Business is all about communication, and the better you can communicate, the more able you are to help others see the value in your product, service or idea.

Use Technology Like a Pro

Advancements in technology can greatly benefit any speech or presentation. After a few talks, you will be amazed at how easy the process is to learn and apply.

• Transfer the main points of your talk to slides. If you want something basic, use PowerPoint on your desktop or Softmaker Presentations on an Android device. But, if you want something more dynamic, use Prezi to implement graphics and sound—and you can even create the presentation from your iPad or view it on your iPhone.

• Warning: don't read from the slides. All you need are bullet points or even just a photo or illustration to trigger your next point. Lifehacker suggests that you keep presentations simple by using minimal amounts of text (so you don't get lost) and using high-quality images and diagrams to highlight (not distract from) what you are saying.

• Control the projector with a remote slide-changer. You can use the one specifically designed for the projector or download an app that can turn your smartphone into a remote control. This will help you create seamless transitions, allow you to move around the room or stage and prevent awkward fumbling with a computer. Also, if you need notes for that extra bit of comfort, it is easy to set your slide show to presenter view.

• Remember, the slides are an aid to the speech. You and your message are the main attraction so don't stand looking at the screen and talk towards it. You still must use your audience engagement skills to continually draw the crowd back to you, which means you need to look at and address the audience consistently.

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