For those who wish to become speakers or wish to improve their craft, as an award-winning speaker, I have a few recommendations (in no particular order):
- Always look at people in your audience as you speak – this gets easier the more talks you do,
- Make sure that your visuals are written in large enough letters to be easily viewed from the back of the room,
- Never read from your visuals – its boring and annoying. Paraphrase what the slide says,
- Only cover 3 main points,
- Use an example or even a prop to get your point across – helps people remember,
- Find out who your audience is beforehand and use examples that relate to their interests or field,
- If you don’t have a mic, then you must face the audience when talking – otherwise, they can’t hear you,
- Also if you don’t have a mic, project your voice to the back of the room using your diaphragm,
- Get them involved, ask questions, ask for a volunteer,
- Never read from your notes – you can glance at your notes to remind you of a point you want to make, but never read to the audience – except maybe a short quote,
- Speak clearly,
- Speak slightly faster than normal – helps them stay focused – unless you are from the Northeast in which case you already speak perhaps too quickly and should slow it down a little,
- Do a presentation to friends or even your family and video tape it – then review and correct what becomes obvious,
- Try not to repeat sounds or words like “like” or “um.” A few of those are O.K., but too many and it becomes annoying.
- Don’t fidget or do something distracting with your hands or other body parts.
- The best speakers are storytellers – so tell interesting, humorous or emotionally touching stories,
- Don’t be afraid to get animated and passionate about what you are talking about,
- Be yourself, and
- Have fun!
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