A good rule o thumb is to ask whomever is putting on the event who will be in the audience. Get to know some of the folks in the room ahead of time if you can. “Friendlies always make it a little easier. Try and look at different people during the presentation.
Know your content cold. To that end, if you present regularly there is an inclination to want to mix it up. Don’t. The better you know your timing, content, stories, etc., the more effective you will be.
Based on what we do here at W2O Group, it shouldn’t surprise you that stories are important. But when you speak, they are even more so. Tell customer stories, personal stories or a funny story that you heard recently. Just remember to keep it pithy.
Humor never hurts. Be careful about telling jokes unless you are 100% they are funny. Off color jokes can be dangerous so choose them wisely based on your audience. Getting your audience to laugh early however, is a good way to break the ice. Self-deprecation never hurts.
Stand up straight. Don’t put your hands in your pocket. Stay loose. You can use your hands but don’t over gesticulate. And NEVER turn your back to your audience.
Maybe the MOST distracting thing that you could do as a speaker. Usually a sign that you are nervous or don’t know your material. Practicing will help overcome this. If you can become conscious of this (film yourself as painful as it might be). The next time you go to “um” or “uh” pause or take a quick breath.
Easier said than done. And this doesn’t mean you can’t reference your slide while you are talking. But reading off your slides is a big no no.
Per the earlier note of knowing your content, practicing your content in front of someone else, a mirror or a video camera is a good way to nail your presentation. However, be careful not to over practice because you can become bored with your own material (or may appear to have memorized your content).
Being visually interesting is good. You don’t have to go as far as this presentation which is almost exclusively visuals, but varying things with use of different shapes, images, charts and graphs can keep things interesting.
Less is more. And per my earlier point, if you keep your bullets short and few, you will be less inclined to read them.
This is a 301 tip. While you are practicing, try and speak at an uncomfortably slow pace. During a talk, we all have a tendency to speed up. So staying calm, cool and collected is critical.
Seems like a no brainer, I know, but saving 10-15 minutes at the end of your presentation is appreciated by the audience. That should obviously depend on how long your talk is (for instance, if it’s only 30 minutes, you can save 5-10 minutes). And be prepared that no one may ask a question so you may want to have a question that you know commonly gets asked. “This is a question that often comes up with this topic.” Tell people at the beginning that you will be taking questions at the end.
Strout public speaking 10 29-14
PUBLIC SPEAKING: 12 KEYS TO ROCKING IT
Aaron Strout – 10/30/2014
LET’S RECAP – PART 1
• Know your audience (and what you want them
to take away)
• Know your content even better!
• Be a storyteller
• Use humor where appropriate
• Body language is key
• Avoid verbal disfluencies like ums, ahs and uhs
LET’S RECAP – PART 2
• Don’t read off your slides
• Practice (A LOT) and record yourself doing so
• Imagery is king
• No more than 3-5 bullets/page
• Speak much more slowly than you think you
• Leave time for Q&A