Speaking with Power: Tips on Giving an Unforgettable Speech
Public speaking is tough stuff. It’s awkward, nerve-wracking and stressful for most people. But having the right tools when you step on stage can help you deliver a great speech and ensure your audience walks away with something useful.
Of course, speaking with power requires fine tuning. So here are a few tips to make sure your next presentation or speech rocks the house.
Do Your Homework
Whether you’re sharing your experience, presenting your ideas during a webinar, or motivating your team, the prep work is just as important as the actual presentation. Knowing what you will talk about gives you confidence. And it builds trust with your audience. No wonder it’s a core element of audience development.
Tip: Before writing your speech, you should review relevant facts, research the topic and watch other speeches to get an idea about your approach. Take notes as you go. This can become the outline of your presentation. More on that in a minute.
Practice Is Key
If practice makes perfect, then perfect practice makes perfection. Or at least that’s what my high school football coach always used to say.
You must be (or appear to be) 100% confident in what you are saying and doing at all times when speaking in front of an audience. Lack of preparation is apparent if you hesitate often to search for your words. So don’t.
Practice your speech out loud. Actually say the words. You will learn what works not only on paper but also orally. You will find that your words on paper sound silly or unnatural when spoken. This gives you a chance to get the kinks out so you can nail that perfect delivery.
A great memorization tip is delivering your speech while walking around or moving in some manner. You’ll find a rhythm of delivery that flows not just in your voice, but in your body. This allows you to let go of any closed-off body language such as putting your hands in your pockets and keeps you grounded in your movements and stance.
Organize Your Speech
As I said above, you should prepare your speech as you conduct your research. By creating an outline of your topic as you go, it will help you avoid going off on a tangent. Depending on the event or situation, you can opt to turn your final outline into a handout. This will give your audience an overview of the talking points and an opportunity to jot down information that interests them. If you’re concerned that your audience will get distracted during your speech, you can always offer the handout as a takeaway afterwards. Just be sure to tell them upfront that you’ll be sharing it with them. That way they pay attention and don’t feel the need to jot everything down.
Be the Alarm Clock, Not the Sleep Aide
Listening to someone else speak takes focus. If your presentation is early in the morning, after lunch, at the end of the day or anywhere in between, I can guarantee there are some groggy folks in your audience. But that doesn’t mean you need to give them an opportunity to nap! Walk on that stage with high-energy and excitement.
Engaging your audience early is the key to grasping and maintaining their attention. I’m not saying you have to be crazy, but find a way to keep your audience captivated. Whether you start with music, a story or an appropriately funny joke, the first 15 seconds on stage will determine the next 15 minutes of your speech. Own. That. Room.
Share Your Story
Whether you’re speaking on behalf of your organization or are just sharing a moment with your team, you have a story to tell. I’ve learned that sometimes, sharing what I’ve been through, is the exact thing someone in my audience may be experiencing.
Personalizing my speech is a double-whammy for my audience.
First, it gives them the right amount of encouragement they need to focus to keep going. Second, it allows them to put their confidence in me which makes them more willing to heed my advice on a solution to their problems.
Although you will be doing most of the talking, a speech is a conversation. Your story should create a personal connection between you and each individual in your audience.
Leave Them Intrigued And Motivated
A good speech will pique the curiosity of the audience, and likely encourage them to change something about themselves. Leave them with a clear and direct call to action connected to your message, followed by a rhetorical question. This demand followed by an open-ended question will feed their already peaked curiosity. The wonderful thing for you is that your audience will generate copious amounts of questions for you, drawing attention to your brand.
You may not get it right the first time, or even the second or third. But the more you speak, the more you’ll start to understand your audience.
The goal of speaking with power is to make a lasting impression on your audience, not to be perfect. What’s stopping you from doing your best?