Tip #1 Know the room
Arrive early, walk around the room, and see areas which might be a problem. Check out the potential blind spots where the audience might not be able to see you and ensure you don’t stand in those positions on stage. Practice out loud so you can get a feel for the sound of your voice in the room. Practice using all the equipment and make sure it is all there when you need it. Make sure you have a backup if it goes wrong.
Tip #2 Know your Audience
Greet some of them as they arrive – it’s easier to speak with friends than a group of strangers. If it is a corporate event, try and meet the team before the session. Converse with them to find out more about their problems and issues. Try to include topical material but avoid jokes. Remember – the audience is more important than you!
Tip #3 Make an Impact
Start your speech with some interaction with the audience. Use a prop, ask a question, or give a memorable quote. Remember their names from before and address them directly during the speech. This will give them great inclusion into the presentation. Whatever you do it has to be relevant to the speech and the audience. Do not try to be funny if this is not your natural style. It won’t work.
Tip #4 Have a structure
Always make sure your speech has a beginning, middle and an end. Try to link the ending back to the beginning so the whole speech or talk makes sense. Have a key point and make sure it is the one that the organiser of the event wants you to cover. Make the whole speech relevant to that audience
Tip #5 Know your material
Pick a topic you are interested in or that you know everything about. If it isn’t your subject specialism then find another speaker. Know more about the subject than you include in your speech. Try to tell personal stories to bring the subject alive and use conversational language.
Tip #6 Always Make a Point
Any speech talk or presentation must have a point. Make sure you have a point that is relevant, both to the story and to the audience. Think about the audience and what they want to hear and build your topic around that. Make it relevant to them. Top tip – tell a story, make a point. Remember words tell, stories sell.
Tip #7 Use Gestures and Emotions
If you make the audience cry or laugh you are half way there! Use gestures to add impact but make sure you don’t use unnecessary movements. Always maintain good eye contact. Rest for a few seconds on each area of the room. Avoid umms and errs and all the other fillers. Emotion is by far the biggest impact you can have.
Tip #8 Write it down
It doesn’t matter whether you have done it before or if this is a new speech – if you write it down you can change it, add to it, and take away. In addition, having notes gives you more confidence knowing that you will never forget what you are going to say. You can have these in your pocket just in case you need to refer to them – this will give you confidence.
Tip #9 Practice! Practice! Practice!
Rehearse out loud – talk to your family, friends, or the dog – always try to run through the speech beforehand. Practice the speech so you don’t rely on the equipment. Practice the beginning so you get off to a great start. Rehearse the middle – make sure you have three clear points . Most importantly rehearse the ending. Make sure that if you have to cut the speech short you always finish with the impactful ending. You can always reduce some of the middle. Always go out with a great ending.
Tip #10 Keep It Simple and Straightforward!
Yes – the KISS formula. Keep things simple. Avoid jargon and acronyms. If it is a technical presentation tell it so that a youngster can understand it. Have confidence – if you do get it wrong don’t apologise – they’ll never know. KISS and most of all have fun.