Recently a friend of mine sent me an email letting me know that she would be speaking at an upcoming convention. She shared with me that this would be her first time speaking to a crowd of this size and asked if I had any advice for her. In my response to her email I jotted down 10 points of interest for her to consider. Below is the list that I shared with her.
I hope you will find them helpful as well.
Here are 10 things to consider when speaking to a group of people.
1. Determine what is comfortable for you. Speaking using a full outline, Speaking using only talking points, Speaking using a manuscript. Speaking without any notes.
Whichever format you use I would suggest that you know your material as though you were speaking without notes but I usually suggest that most people use some from of notes when they speak.
I would suggest doing a full verbal (out loud) run through at least 5 times prior to speaking. This will allow you to check your wording and flow as things often sound different when you say them out loud vs. just reading them on paper or the computer screen. This will also allow you to know for sure just how long you will speak for and if you need to trim some of the fat in order to make it a better presentation.
2. Takeaways Points are extremely valuable.
Unfortunately the large majority of people will forget about 90% of everything you say within hours of hearing you speak. Giving people a few key takeaway points that you reinforce throughout the speaking engagement will ensure a greater chance of people remembering what you’ve talked about. Handouts and note taking can increase these odds even more.
3. Confidence is an important element in gaining peoples trust.
If you do not have confidence in the fact that you should be before them speaking and that what you have to say is valuable then those in the audience will pick up on it quickly and will begin to consciously and subconsciously devalue what you are saying.
4. Body Language is extremely important.
Own it! Without being obnoxious walk, talk, and act as though YOU BELONG! You are the expert at this moment on the topic that you are speaking about so act like it.
Avoid repetitive hand, body, or facial gestures/habits that may take away from the value of what you are sharing.
6. Eye contact is extremely important as well.
Prior to speaking visually divide the room into four or six quadrants depending on the size of the room. Take time regularly throughout the your speaking time to scan each quadrant. It will give the audience the feeling that you are looking and talking directly to them.
7. Arrive early and never expect things to go exactly as they have been planned to go.
Being prepared for flexibility will keep you from losing your mind prior to speaking when something does not go as planned.
8. Don’t be monotone.
Voice inflections are great for the listeners and if planned well can even be fun for the speaker. Alter your voice to change pitch, tone, and force throughout your speech/presentation.