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4 tips from a Toastmasters champion

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Whether you’re afraid of public speaking or confident in your abilities, you can probably use some pointers on polishing presentations and connecting with audiences.

To get tips on giving great presen­­tations, Business Insider reporter Richard Feloni turned to one of the world’s greatest public speakers, Sri Lankan HR consultant Dananjaya Hettia­­­­rachchi, who Toast­­mast­­ers International crowned World Cham­­pion of Public Speaking earlier this year.

Hettiarachchi beat out 33,000 competitors from around the world. He offered these tips for improving your presentation prowess.

1.  Start with a message. Don’t just begin with a general topic; consider what you want your audience to take away at the end.

2.  Show confidence in yourself. You must be confident in yourself before the audience will believe your message. The speech should be conversational, as if you were talking to several friends.

3.  Take the audience’s perspective. To distill your talk to just the essential information, take a step back and think about what you’d really need to hear if you were a member of the audience coming in with no background information.

4.  Find an appropriate forum to practice. Practice is essential to becoming better and it helps to speak in front of an audience that will provide honest feedback. Hettiarachchi really liked speaking at schools. He says schoolchildren, unrestrained by etiquette concerns, provide honest feedback.

— Adapted from “5 Presentation Tips from the World Champion of Public Speaking,” Richard Feloni, Busi­­ness Insider.

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