How To Become An Outstanding Speaker
Let’s face it, we have all had to endure a bad presentation. A speech so bad that it was painful to listen to. The speaker mumbled or fidgeted and droned on and on while they read the text off their slides. It doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to be that way. Here are a few “dos and don’ts” to help you become and outstanding speaker.
Know Your Topic
Know your material and get to the point. You don’t need to memorize a presentation word for word but know the key points that you are going to talk about and how they relate to the whole story. Don’t allow yourself to ramble. Your audience has a million possible distractions waiting back on their desk, on their phone, or just floating around in their head. You have to keep them hanging on every word, feeling like they would miss something valuable if they looked away for a moment. You can use memory aides like mnemonics to remember a list of key points and then expand on each point with examples or anecdotes to get your message across.
Do Not Be Verbatim
Don’t read from your slides or visuals. These aides are only there to illustrate what you are saying. They help you make your presentation clearer and your message stronger. You are not a slide reader, you are a speaker.
Make Explanations Simple
Practice using your mental lists and explaining things simply. If you have access to a couple of kids try your presentation out on them. Try for 10-12 year olds. They will let you know the instant that something is not clear and any boring bits will become obvious as soon as their attention starts to wander.
Do Not Exaggerate
Cut the fluff. Cut out anything that is not specific to the main points and your core message. Don’t pad or stretch the material just to fill the allotted time or space. If your presentation is short you need to dig deeper into the main message and the key points. It’s not about pumping out mountains of information to demonstrate just how big and important this topic is. It’s about how much your audience understands and remembers.
Engage Your Audience and Connect
Connect with your audience. Speak their language, establish common ground, and share funny or inspiring anecdotes. Humor helps and you don’t need to be a stand up comic for it to really add to your presentation. You’re a business speaker and a little light humor simply keeps an audience engaged. Avoid anything borderline racist, sexist or off-color. Check with somebody you trust who knows the group you are talking to, and run through the jokes with them.
Make An Impression
Finally leave them better than they were before. Drive home an uplifting or inspiring message. Challenge them to change, to take action. Let people know you care and this is your gift to them.