I love to see people’s eyes light up when they learn a new, better way of speaking with impact. Whether it’s in a conference room, an office, a hotel ballroom, or online. [Click HERE to listen to a fantastic description of live vs. online speaking when I interviewed Bill Stainton for my book, The World’s Greatest Speakers.] And, sometimes it helps to skip all the fluff and just get right to the good stuff. So, here are your 5 QUICK HITS for today:
1) START WITH A BANG
DO: Start every talk with something that will disrupt their attention. Fill the room (or screen) with energy, show up with confidence, and do or say something that grabs their attention.
DON’T: Start a live talk by saying, “Thanks so much, it’s really great to be here.” Or, “Hi, my name is….(Clark Kent)…” If you’re not introduced beforehand (oops…their bad), then go ahead and share your name, just NOT at the very beginning. (When online you can give your name/hooky title at the beginning, but then jump into something interesting right away.)
2) PLAN IT OUT IN ADVANCE
DO: Have your movements and stage choreography planned out ahead of time. Understand the dynamics of each section of the stage (deliver powerful, key points at the center, always move to stage right when you go back in time talking about your dad, etc.) Walk purposefully and then stop and PLANT yourself. (When online, write out your topics in advance and be very clear as you transition.)
DON’T: Continuing walking, walk randomly, pace, or shift from side to side. Get somewhere and PLANT. (When online, don’t wing it and make it up as you go. It loses focus and the energy is scattered.)
3) PRACTICE THE TRANSITIONS
DO: Memorize and practice your talk in sections/chunks. Name (and color in) the 4-5 main sections (bubbles) and practice the TRANSITIONS between them. One big bubble for the TOPIC and a small bubble for the supporting story. Picture yourself as you move through each bubble, that way you never get lost.
DON’T: Freak out if you forget where you are. Just pause and breathe. Remember – they don’t know that you’ve forgotten. Give yourself a few seconds to orient which section/bubble you’re in. The audience appreciates you pausing and getting ready to nail the next section. If you can’t get back on track, then keep your sense of humor about it – that’s the best way to lighten the situation.
4) HAVE A BACKUP PLAN
DO: Have a backup plan for EVERYTHING. The projector dies. The lights go out. Your clicker doesn’t work. The microphone sucks. I’ve heard just about everything from a person having a heart attack, an earthquake, and a bat divebombing the audience. Have extra batteries, your own clicker, paper copies of your presentation, etc.
DON’T: Be surprised when something goes awry. Expect the best and prepare for the worst.
5) KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
DO: Learn about your audience before speaking. Ask the event planner about the people attending. If it’s a business/corporation, ask if you can speak to a few of the employees in advance. Research what’s going on with the group/company, speak their language and reference current events. If it’s a random audience, come early and mingle. Begin the connection with them before you even start speaking. Then you can reference some of the conversations in your talk.
DON’T: Forget that your talk begins the second you step out of car in the parking lot. Getting coffee, walking the halls, and using the restroom. (Key: Turn OFF your mic when going to the bathroom!)
I would love for you to take the golden nuggets above that are calling your name and let me know how it’s going. Please comment below if you have embellishments or additions to the list! If you got some takeaways, love it up a little and “like” or “share” below. Remember, you have a unique gift and voice the world needs to hear. So get out there, just be you, and give ’em all you got.