You probably worked really hard to book this gig, or maybe you just got lucky on this one and it just kind of found you. Either way, now that it’s in the books, you might feel a little overwhelmed as you try to figure out what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it.
You’re already a passionate expert, and you already have lots of content out there on your platform, but speaking is a bit different than what you’re used to (maybe blogging or podcasting), and you just need to nail this.
No worries, you’ve got this!
This post will walk you through the first 3 things you need to do immediately after booking a speaking gig.
Uncertainty causes anxiety. And anxiety is no fun, especially on stage. If you want to get rid of that anxiety, get rid of as much uncertainty as possible. This means finding out the dirty little details about the speech ahead of time (no surprises!)
First – the obvious – Learn about the expectations of the speech itself. You can ask things like….
How long are you expected to speak for?
How many people will be there?
Where is the event?
What expectations does the conference organizer have for you?
What technology is available for you to use?
Next – the less obvious, but super-duper important – These are things like the make-up of the audience and the specific situation. You can ask…
Who exactly will be there (CEO’s of big firms, or freelancers? Men or women? School teachers or the kids? It makes a difference)?
How is the room set up (if the conference organizer doesn’t know this, you can always call the hotel and ask)?
Will you have a teleprompter / or a screen to view slides on?
How will you get your slides on the screen? Do they need them ahead of time?
Finally – the details – dig into the culture of the event. You can ask…
Why does this event take place?
What has it looked like in previous years?
What commonalities do the audience members share?
What are their common goals?
And there might be more info that you want to collect, depending on the event and your level of comfort as a speaker. If you can adapt to any situation on the fly, the setup of the room isn’t as important. If you’re feeling a ton of anxiety and you like to control details in your life, the knowledge can help you visualize your speech going well before you even take the stage.
This is such an overlooked step. A rookie mistake is to just go, “Well, I’m a social media marketing specialist, so I’ll talk about social media marketing. Bam. Done. This speech is going to be a breeze…”
This is way too vague, and leads to all sorts of problems later on down the line. Instead, I suggest creating a goal statement – one clear statement that defines your goal as a speaker.
That goal statement will become your compass as you create the rest of your content. You’ll always have a goal in mind, and you’ll have a better shot of meeting that goal. Skip this step and you run the risk of confusing the audience, leaving them feeling like they just couldn’t quite connect the dots during your talk.
It helps to do this early on so you can clearly tell the conference organizer and your platform what you’ll be speaking about, even if it isn’t completely ironed out yet.
The more anxious you feel about the speech, the more likely you are to put off preparing for it. I know, that isn’t what your intuition says, but trust me, that’s what happens. Your mind will think of anything that it wants or needs to do besides preparing for something that terrifies it (or even just something that makes it feel uncomfortable).
You don’t want to end up stressed out, pulling an all nighter before your speech. Who wants to take the stage after a night like that? (Puffy eyes, scratchy voice… that certainly won’t help you feel comfy on stage).
I like to start working on a speech, or a client’s speech, about 6 weeks before the presentation date. This leaves plenty of time for creating the content, and lots of time for practicing (but not so much time that you obsess over it).
Set some deadlines for yourself. When do you want to have the first draft done? The slide deck? What about the finer details, like your outfit? Or your travel plans? Setting up the plan ahead of time will help you stay on track, but it’ll also help you create killer content and feel completely at ease on stage while you deliver that content – and that’s what it’s all about.
Want more?? I’ve got lots more, but I need to know what you want! Could you please fill out this ONE question survey to let me know? I’ll do my best to get you the information that you need to turn yourself into an incredible public speaker!
How to build relationships when you are on stage PART II
Welcome back to the second part of three about how to build relationships when you are on stage.
If you haven’t read the first part yet, I highly recommend you to do it.
So let’s move on to the second part.
In this post we’ll cover:
This is the part that excites me the most.
We have our speech ready, we are well prepared and the day is finally here.
With your speech, your pictures, and your slides, you know what you want the audience to feel like and how to react.
But as you know by now, it’s not what you say it’s how you say it.
You have prepared for this and you know the high energy parts of your speech and the low energy. You know when to lower your voice and when to make a strong and powerful impact with your voice and body.
Which leads us in to…
Before going on stage
As I said, your preparation includes many things. Now it’s time to prepare your audience as well. It’s time to put them in the perfect state of mind, to set the energy you want.
But first, you’ll prepare yourself, mentally.
Go somewhere you can’t be disturbed. Backstage if you can or even to the bathroom for a moment. Somewhere you can close your eyes, visualize yourself on stage giving the speech.
I want you to visualize the high energy parts of your speech and how the audience reacts.
Before you break the silence and go out again, I want you to visualize how the host calls your name and you go up on stage while your favorite song is playing and the audience is clapping along.
Now you go out and prepare the audience as well.
Talk to as many as you can from the audience, make it feel casual.
Try to connect with them and to laugh with them. This set’s the mode for them that you are relaxed but letting them know that this will be good.
Make sure to remember the people you talk to and can point them out in the audience later on stage.
During on stage
Now is where the fun part begins.
You have prepared so well for this and you will crush it!
Spot maybe one or two of the people you talked to before going on stage and make strong eye contact with them. Throw in a quick smile if you like.
Do the same with one or two other in the audience that you haven’t talked to before.
A quick tip here is to make them participate as soon as possible.
Now, during your speech, don’t forget to keep eye contact and not move your head around too quickly.
It looks insecure. I always try to move my head in slow motion when my eyes change direction. It feels slow motion to me but it looks pretty normal from the outside.
Another thing to remember is not to talk to fast. Embrace the silence. Silence takes a statement from good to great.
However, to make a great impact with your words, you have to think of your tonality. Make it come from the heart.
Skip the higher pitch.
“Higher pitch equals lower amount of social value.” Click To Tweet
Think of it this way.
Have you ever heard a superhero in a higher pitch? No!
Boom. It’s strong and powerful.
Same with Darth Vader, he talks slow and low.
This is something you can practice on every day and make it come automatic.
But in order to be able to have a good tonality, you have to control your breathing.
A recommendation is to breathe in through your nose.
This way you feel more relaxed. Also, the more you breathe through the mouth the easier it is to get dehydrated.
Another important aspect to think of is your body language and the nonverbal communication.
This is definitely more difficult than to control your breathing and your tonality.
In this case, you have to be self-aware, to analyze how you move and stand when you’re talking.
If you find yourself thinking of your posture in the middle of a speech or a conversation then take a quick look at your toes.
A quick look on your toes and back up again is an easy way to scan your body language and adjust it if necessary.
Nonverbal communication experts often talk about open and closed posture. A closed posture can be when someone is crossing their arms and legs or being positioned in a slight angle from the person they’re interacting with.
An open posture can be when you are facing the person you interact with, having eye contact, and aren’t afraid of showing your palms/forearms.
You’ll want to have an open posture to show your confidence.
To become a speaker that builds relationship on stage, you can’t take your body language for granted.
You know that this is a big part in building those relationships and gaining trust.
You’ll be focusing on your voice and tonality, your breathing, how you’re standing, moving your head and eyes, and how you use hand gestures to make a greater impact.
And if you find yourself thinking of your posture in the middle of a speech or conversation, take a quick look at your toes and adjust.
The last thing your audience wants is to leave the event with a great feeling about you and your speech but still wondering “so, what’s the next step for me?”
I haven’t talked about how to build your speech, what to include or what to say when and mainly that’s because I’m no expert on it.
But what I DO know is about building relationships and if you don’t have a smooth finish, then you won’t get the results you hoped for or deserved to get.
Usually great speeches end with a summary and tie it all to the audience. More important than that, how do you follow up?
Have a clear step, a landing page, a paper to fill in etc.
Think of it this way.
You are at an event hearing one of your favorite speakers giving a great presentation.
This is exactly what you needed to listen to and by the end of the presentation the speaker mentions a course on the same topic but more in depth.
Do you make an investment?
If you are serious, yeah you probably do.
The next step doesn’t have to be a course, it can be something free. As long as there is a follow up plan and you mention it for the audience, you’re giving it a perfect ending.
Ok, so we have covered A LOT in these two parts.
In the next, and final part we’ll cover:
As always, I’m very open to feedback and questions so if you have a question or would like to get some more information on a certain topic, hit me up below in the comment section.
Also let me know, how do you set the energy before a speech or something that demands preparation?
Jossif Elefteriadis is a relationship marketing strategist that helps you build valuable relationships and gain trust.
Get his FREE 20+ pages guide: “How To Connect With Experts And Influencers In Your Field”
Do you have any tips for using slides in my speech?
I’m not a visually creative person. You can probably gather that much by taking a look at this website. Or my house. (Or my wardrobe for that matter).
For that reason, I declare, slide decks are the worst.
But, hey, it isn’t just a bias opinion, this opinion comes from years of sitting through poor lectures, blue Power Points and boring conference presentations.
But, they’re a necessary part of speech, you say?
Eh. I can do without them for the most part. But, let’s talk about it.
I’ve talked to a whole lot of people about their speeches / presentations / talks or whatever else you want to call them, and one thing that I’ve noticed is that the word, “slide deck” is almost a synonym for public speaking.
I’ve also noticed that, for the most part, people really struggle with knowing what to put on their slides. How many are too many? How many are too few? How many words per slide? What color text? Etc.
People are sometimes surprised that I’m not really into the whole slide thing, being a speech coach and all. But, the truth it, although they can really help supplement your content, along, they aren’t your content. In other words, all of the beautiful images and pie charts in the world aren’t going to make your speech great. Nor will they make your speech terrible (assuming you have great content).
So, to ease some tension around the creation of these slides, I wanted to give some tips that you can use to create an amazing presentation that includes amazing slides.
Images are more fun to look at than words. They help support your content without tempting you to rely on them FOR the content.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to figure this out on the fly. I wrote a post about this here, but in short, you’ll end up either talking to your slide (and turning your back toward the audience), or you’ll end up confusing the audience (“why are we looking at this picture of his cat again??”) because you don’t have a clear connection between your actual point and your slide.
This is my favorite trick. Put a blank slide in between your other slides so that you can control where the audience is focusing. If you have something on the screen, they’ll look there. But, often, it is best for them to look at you. That way, they’ll soak in all of the emotion from your face and they’ll actually feel something while you talk. When there isn’t anything important on the projector screen, let it go dark and focus the audience’s attention on you. Then, when it is time to show another slide, they’ll immediately refocus on the screen.
Do you have any other tips for creating and using slides in your speech? I’d love to hear. If you want even more, I have a short eBook that discusses the use of slides in depth. Get it here.
This is a guest post by Jossif Elefteriadis.
Yes, you are here! And if you are here, then you’re in the right place my friend.
This isn’t just a regular blog post. This is the beginning of a 3 part series on how YOU can build relationships when you are on stage.
No one wants to be on stage and forget the words, or even worse know that the audience is leaving without the satisfaction of your talk.
You didn’t meet their expectations.
If this has happened to you then you know what it feels like. It sucks!
Now let’s build on that.
You’ve probably heard the quote that “it’s not what you say it’s how you say it”.
Here’s a quick story.
I remember one of my teachers. He was one of the good ones.
One lesson, he decided to start a bit different, he started with a story.
He told this story with power and with enthusiasm.
Everyone was drawn in. Everyone was focused. The teacher had 100% of our attention, physically and mentally.
Then suddenly he stops and says: “That’s it. This story has no end and no meaning. It’s not about what you say rather than how you say it and how you present it”.
To our all’s disappointment, that was true.
Now imagine that, but with a story, and with a value that is perfect for your audience.
In this 3 part series, I will go through the steps of how you can create great impact and build relationships when you’re on stage.
Here are three key words that I try to follow every time I’m about to plan a speech.
Alpha – Confidence – Knowledge
Trust me when I say, if you miss one of them, you’re screwed.
These three key words have many different definitions but I will explain what I think of them (and probably others do too) and how you can use them to your favor.
When I hear the word Alpha, I immediately get a clear picture in my head. It can be a male or a female, well dressed, you can feel the charisma around them and their “important-ness”, but there’s more than that.
I tried to break Alpha down into three categories (which weren’t easy) so you can take action right now.
An alpha doesn’t believe in awkward situations. They see the positive in every situation and flips it to something good. This will be easier once you learn that the silence is positive.
When an “awkward” moment is about to happen, just be quiet, hold eye-contact (important) and listen (very important).
To be able to embrace the silence, you have to be present. You can think of what to say, you can think of how you’re standing (body language), listen to others talking and take notes. This shows massive respect.
Dress well and dress appropriate. This doesn’t only show respect (you’ve put time and effort to be presentable and to look good) but it adds to the whole picture of building trust, not by what you say but how you say it.
An alpha is highly aware of how his body is moving. You can make a statement much stronger than what it is, if your body is acting along with your mind and words.
This is important not only to show your power, how dominant you are etc. which is what most of the people think when you talk about nonverbal communication.
This is important to show that you aren’t week or insecure, you respect yourself and take care of your body which gives you a better, more confidence hold.
Confidence is a part of alpha but I want to give it an own section since it’s so important.
Confidence doesn’t mean arrogance.
You don’t have to show your confidence, people will notice.
Remember that everything you do and every choice you make, it’s your decision and you should stand for it. To stand for your decisions and your thoughts, and to be able to talk about them and put your feelings on the outside, that’s confidence.
First of all knowledge in yourself and in your topic. Make sure you know what’s working and what’s not (from yours or others experiences), also the latest in your topic.
– Who they are
– What are they doing
– Why are they listening to you
– What language are they talking
You want to adapt as much as possible to your audience for them to get the most out of your speech.
Of course there is more than the steps above for creating a great speech and we’ll go through a few of them in this series.
I’ll explain more in this 3 part series on how you can prepare for your speech.
Ok, so you’re about to give an awesome speech or a keynote presentation at an event, what’s next?
I’ll give you an extra second here to understand how important preparation is.
Pat Flynn prepared his opening keynote presentation for New Media Expo 2015 for over a year.
Yes, a whole year. Pat Flynn.
Let it sink in.
Now, your speech might not be at New Media Expo or some big event, but to get there you have to make every speech count.
First I want you to remember that someone chose you to speak on stage, because of what you’re doing. Embrace it. You are doing something so good that people want to put you on stage.
Have confidence in your knowledge. If you have a blog and you’re creating content by writing, then think of this as creating more content on the same topic but instead of writing you just speak.
You can also ask the host why they did chose you to speak so you know why they think their audience will benefit from you. Rolling from that, ask about their audience, do research on who’s going to be in the audience.
Go back to our Knowledge section above and understand your audience.
If you’re going to use a PowerPoint presentation or show pictures then make sure you have good slides and high quality pictures that resonate with what you are talking about.
Get feedback on your presentation and pictures from others.
And don’t forget to practice.
Practice, improve, practice, improve, get feedback, and improve.
Run your whole speech with pictures (if you have) to others and get feedback, both on your content but also on your voice and body language.
Practice in front of a mirror as well so you can spot the week parts and improve them.
Make sure to only keep the essentials. The last thing you want is to lose the attention of your audience and to waste their time.
I hope to set the foundation here for this 3 part series and that you’ll set the foundation for your speech.
In the next part we’ll cover:
• Before going on stage
• During on stage
• Follow up
I want to get you active right away. Head to the comments below and share your best experience on stage.
If you haven’t been on stage yet but you want to change that pretty soon, what do you fear the most, and what are you most excited about?
Jossif Elefteriadis is a relationship marketing strategist that helps you build valuable relationships and gain trust.
Get his FREE 20+ pages guide: “How To Connect With Experts And Influencers In Your Field”
If you’ve never taken the stage before, or have only taken the stage for short periods of time, your first 60 minute speech can feel like eternity.
In reality, speaking for 60 minutes, or even 4 hours, really does go by fast (it’s ok if you don’t believe me just yet 🙂
In a TED Talk, Tony Robbins comments that he’ll have a tough time managing the timing of his talk because he typically gives seminars that last all weekend. But, back when I was teaching public speaking to college students, their first assignment was to give a 2-5 minute presentation. Every semester, I would announce the assignment, and then watch absolute shock and terror come over their faces. Who could possibly speak for that long?? It’s all relative.
Whatever amount of time you’re given to speak, it’ll likely either feel too short or too long for you. The key to managing your time all comes down to developing a really great outline.
I have lots of tips for managing your time, and today I’ll just give you two of the big ones.
First, make sure that your content is properly focused. A common misconception is that the length of time you are given to talk will determine the number of main points that you present. But, that’s not true. In fact, the length really has nothing to do with that. Instead, the timing should dictate the detail in which you cover a topic. So, if you’re given 5 minutes, it is likely the person is looking for a brief overview. If you’re given longer, they want to know more about it in depth.
Focusing your content is really important. I talk about it more in this video. You can watch it here.
The second tip for managing your time is to create rock solid stage notes – and use them.
Stage notes are just notes that you take on the stage with you. But, the way you construct them is really important. You can’t just print out your script and call it a day, and you can’t just have a bulleted list (you’ll never find what you’re looking for quickly enough while you’re on stage). Rather, I suggest writing your notes in an outline form and leaving small timing reminders at various places throughout the outline. This way, if you get off track for whatever reason, you can quickly get back to where you need to be.
What about you? How do you manage time while on stage? Leave your tips in the comments below.
Have another issue that you’d like to see me address? I’d love to help out. Leave a comment with your question and I’ll see what I can do 🙂
I recently attended a really great talk about parenting through my son’s school. The speaker was great. One of the things that she did that I really liked was engage with the audience. Right from the beginning, she had us sharing our experiences and participating.
In general, these types of presentations are more fun to sit through than ones that turn off the lights, turn on the projector, and just keep yapping.
But, engaging the audience is tough if you’re a new speaker. It is a lot to manage. Are you confident that the audience will participate at all? Do you know your material well enough to get side tracked by a comment and still tie everything together? How do you deal with an attention hog who wants to high-jack the presentation for themselves?
For new speakers, I don’t recommend attempting a lot of audience participation (wait until you’re completely comfortable on stage, then go for it), but there are still ways that you can get your audience to engage with you without having them actually speak up.
If you’re new to the stage, use these tips to help you keep engagement up, without it throwing you off.
First, make a game out of it.
I like to look around the audience and try to catch as much of the feedback as I can and capitalize on it. For example, I will look around as I’m talking for small smiles, head nods, giggles, etc. Once I get a reaction like that, as small as it might be, I respond to it.
Nothing big, but I’ll smile bag, nod my head, gesture to them as I continue talking, just so they know that I saw – that I’m connecting with them. That we’re engaged in a conversation, not a one-way lecture.
The more you encourage these small interactions, the more you’ll find them and the more your audience will feel like part of the event, not just a passive spectator.
Bonus: this little game also guarantees that you are focusing on your audience, making eye contact, and drawing them into your speech, rather than getting distracted by your slides, the clock, or your own nerves.
Second, perform the response that you want your audience to perform. For example, if you want the audience to nod their head in agreement, nod yours first. If you want them to raise their hand, you raise yours. If you want the audience to laugh, you laugh. If you want them to cry, you cry first. Whatever you want them to do, do it first. The audience will mimic your behavior. This is a great way to get them to participate without you having to actually call on people and put them on the spot and without having to give up too much of the control.
Want to know even more tips and tricks for delivering amazing presentations that actually get results? Join me here and get practical tips and inspiration to rely on each time you take the stage.
Last week, I was helping my son ride his bike. Unfortunately, he rode it right into a bush.
He’s just a little guy, so he’s still learning. Sometimes, he feels this need to watch his hands, or his feet as he pedals and steers. Like he doesn’t really feel comfortable knowing where they are and what they’re doing. He has to see it himself.
Sometimes, new speakers do the same thing with their slides.
If you want to make an impact when you speak, you already know that you need to be engaging – interact with your audience – no matter how big or small, and part of that is looking at them.
Yesterday, I had a wrap up call with one of my clients to give some feedback on her recent keynote presentation. She had some questions that I thought I would share with all of you. She asked if I had any tips for her to avoid looking at her slides while she presents. She commented that the slides were displayed behind her and the computer wasn’t in a convenient location for her to look at (it was off to the side).
This is a really common problem that new speakers face. If you’re feeling at all nervous, you’ll feel drawn to your slides. You likely won’t even realize it. It just feels comfy – no little faces in the crowd staring back at you, no distractions, familiar territory… people do it all the time.
Of course, you don’t need me to tell you that putting you back to the audience isn’t the best approach, but continuing to be engaging and interact with the audience while under pressure is easier said than done. So, in this post, I answer the question, how do I avoid looking at my slides during my presentation?
If you’ve read any of my posts before, you’ll know that I believe a great presentation all comes down to the way you prepare the content.
But how can good content help you engage the audience and avoid falling into the comfort trap of talking to your slides rather than the audience?
The number one tip I have for staying focused on your audience, even while presenting information on a slide, is to write out the words that you plan to use to transition into and out of your visual aid in your outline.
I know I’ll get some resistance by saying that. Most people believe that you should never write out what you plan to say out of fear of sounding robotic when you take the stage.
But, this isn’t really true. I’m not saying you have to stick to the script exactly, but you should have an idea how you’re going to talk about your slides, including a transition into and out of that section of your speech.
It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but something as simple as, “As you can see behind me, conversions increased by 15% after I implemented this change.” Or, “as you can see by looking at this picture, I wasn’t always as fit as I am today.” Just thinking through this simple transition will keep the temptation to turn around and talk to your slides at bay. You’ll already know what you plan to say about the slide, you won’t need to look at it and figure it out on the fly.
Try out this trick the next time you take the stage and let me know how it works.
Do you have any other tips for keeping your focus on the audience while you present your slides? I’d love to hear. Leave them in the comment below.
Ok, so you’ve sat through a few too many presentations that have made you yawn a bit too much. And you definitely DON’T want to be that person at the front of the room running the snooze-fest. Especially if you’re trying to convince your audience to do something when you’re done – like buy a product, sign up for your service, or join your list.
In fact, the thought of creating those same, totally uninterested and borderline lethargic feelings in your audience that you’ve felt SO MANY times before is enough to give anyone speech anxiety, even if you’re normally the life of the party.
But, why are there so many terrible presentations if no one sets out to actually present that way? What’s the problem here? I’m here to tell you two things:
1. You aren’t destined to give a terrible talk. You can actually deliver an informative, educational and inspiring talk that is pretty darn fun to listen to.
2. It isn’t your fault that you’ve given less-than-appealing talks in the past. I’m going to go out on a limb here and actually blame scientists for this phenomenon.
Ridiculous you say? I think not. Let me tell you why they’re at fault (are you a scientist? Sorry – didn’t mean to offend, but here me out).
I love science. In fact, I consider myself a scientist (check out the cool scientific paper I wrote about how couples communicate about infidelity http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01494929.2011.626670#.VOJruVPF_qk – yay science). But, for so long, and still to this day, some people and groups of people like to discredit science. They look to all sorts of other things and forces to describe what happens in their world.
So, scientists have hammered us with this idea that things need to be logical in order for us to buy them (or, buy into the idea).
Most of us agree… at least we think we do. I mean, it makes sense right? Why would we agree to anything that isn’t logical?
But, in reality, that isn’t how people actually make decisions. We’re not as logical as we would hope, or as we imagine we are.
We’re actually quite intuitive. And that’s how we make decisions. That’s how we relate to each other. It’s how the world goes ‘round!
Back to speech.
When we BELIEVE on the surface that people make logical decisions and only logical decisions, and we know that it makes sense for people to make logical decisions, we think that if we want to get results, we need to present the audience with every piece of logic we have – every stat, number, fact, dictionary definition and argument that we can find.
But that really isn’t how people make connections, or how we make decisions.
If you’re relying only on stats, fact and otherwise left-brain / think-y kind of stuff, your audience is not only going to tune out, but you’re not going to get the results you want either.
You’re left with a pretty terrible presentation and no buyers at the end of it. Fail.
Do you feel that resistance? Are you shouting at the computer, “but Sandy, I’m a PROFESSIONAL and you don’t understand…. the facts and statistics are important and I don’t want to lose credibility by presenting the feel-y stuff.”
Right. You don’t want to do that either. But, here’s what you DO want to do.
Combine the left-brain stuff with the right-brain emotional, intuitive and HUMAN stuff. The stuff that makes people FEEL something. Or cry. Or cheer. Or laugh. Or go, “WOW, YES that is SO ME! And she gets me!”
Here’s my little formula. In no way is this the only way to do things, but it is a way that I suggest for people who have a tough time combining all of these things, especially if you tend to add more of the logical and less of the human stuff.
1. Develop a story that highlights one case study.
2. Follow with statistics to show how likely this case study is to be true for your audience.
3. Provide a testimonial from another person that is very similar to your audience.
Following this formula will guarantee that you are mixing in all aspects – the stats are important, but you have to hook ‘em first. And then, you have to show them that your argument can apply to other people just like them.
Doing this for all of your points will give you a sturdy foundation for point you try to make while also making your talk relatable and interesting. No snooze-fest here! And nothing to feel anxious about. They’re going to love you.
Like this tip? This is just ONE of the many common mistakes that new speaker’s make that can kill an idea before it even generates any momentum. If you want to see more like this, download my tip-sheet so that you can avoid all of the common mistakes.
Back when I was teaching public speaking at a local college, I came across this list of the top 13 (unlucky 13!!) fears associated with public speaking.
Can you relate?
1. I will look stupid in front of my audience.
2. My voice will shake.
3. The audience will notice my shaky hands.
4. I won’t have anything to say worth listening to.
5. I will lose my place.
6. The audience won’t agree with what I’m saying.
7. I’ll sweat.
8. I’ll get dry mouth.
9. My technology won’t work.
10. I’ll have trouble breathing properly.
11. I can’t stand people looking at me too long.
12. People won’t like my voice.
13. The audience will notice my accent.
Back when I started teaching public speaking, I was TERRIFIED of #4 – I won’t have anything to say worth listening to.
I was 25. They were… not much younger than 25.
They were in college. I was in college (grad school… but still).
Besides having a degree in communication from (an amazing and highly ranked… but again… still!) University, I had little experience with public speaking and even LESS experience teaching it (I had run a few workshops and had trained employees at my company at this point. Still…. that anxiety just always creeps in!)
It. Was. Terrifying.
Being 25, I looked about as credible as a clown in the boardroom.
But – what could I do? Class was about to start. It was my turn to take the stage and just go for it.
So I did.
And ya’ know what? I actually had a LOT to say that they didn’t know. And I was able to watch their skills improve dramatically during those few months.
I could have used my anxiety as an excuse not to even try. Or not to prepare. Instead, I used it as a reason to do my best.
How will you use your fears? We all have them. It’s all about what you’ll do with them.
Let me know in the comments… when were you terrified of taking the stage? What did you do about it?
Learn the most common mistakes that new speaker’s make and find out what to do instead (so you can be more successful every time you speak).
In fact, filling your slides up with text does more harm than you may realize. Not only is it boring for your audience, but it also is distracting their attention from your message. This means that, no matter how good your idea is, they’re less likely to act on it simply because they didn’t absorb it all.
If you put up any type of visual aide – images, text, etc., your audience will look at that as opposed to you. If the slide contains nothing but text, the audience will begin to read the slide rather than listening to you. They won’t hear your captivating stories and examples, or the emotion in your voice. They’ll simply read dry bullet points. Most of your message is now lost.
If you’re guilty of “death by PowerPoint,” don’t beat yourself up over it. It really isn’t your fault. After all, you don’t have many great examples of a better way to do it.
Think about the last time you saw a presentation, especially one in an office or another business related event. They probably did this very thing. And, you knew it wasn’t the best option, and they probably did too, but everyone keeps doing it anyway, because no one knows what else to do.
One reason they continue to do this is because they aren’t sure how else to remember what they are supposed to say. They know they can’t read word for word from a script. At least if they are looking at the PowerPoint, they are looking up. So, how are you supposed to fix this problem? How are you supposed to remember what it is that you need to say, stay on track, while still creating amazing and textless slides (more on what you SHOULD put on your slides in a future post).
How do you remember your talk without relying on those external cues?
The solution is simple: create a speaker’s outline.
A speaker’s outline is a simple outline that includes short phrases and keywords to help jog your memory. It doesn’t contain what you plan to say word for word, but it is a nice reminder of what you had planned.
It also contains notes that you might need for yourself. This can include time cues or indicators to turn on or turn off media, or other special instructions you might need while presenting.
The real tip, the secret, and what most new speakers don’t know is this: make this an outline, not bullet points (and definitely NOT paragraphs). Why is the outline format key?
If you have a long list of bullet points (or paragraphs), there is no easy way for you to glance over at the notes and determine where on the page you are. This is especially true if you’ve been talking for a while without glancing at your notes (which is what you should be doing if you’re prepared). This will make it look as though you’ve lost your place (because you have) and make you feel anxiety as you search for your spot, creating a snowball effect of bad speech karma!
On the other hand, an outline is structured in a way that provides you with visual cues. You can easily see where you are, in a split second. Often, the audience won’t even notice you glancing at your notes, and if they do, it’s no big deal because it is for a second and it isn’t awkward.
Putting your notes on an outline will free up your visual aid to include interesting, persuasive and motivational images and rely less on endless text so your audience will stay busy focusing on you and your message.
What have you used in the past to jog your memory from the podium? What works best for you? Let me know by leaving a comment below!