Six Top Tips to Being a Speaker They Will Remember….in a Good Way!
by Motivational Speaker Connie Podesta
So, you’ve got to give a big presentation huh? Stand up in front of everyone and try to act cool and nonchalant—as though you had done this a million times before. But inside you know better…and you are just waiting. For “it” to show, whatever your “it” is. Saying “um’ a thousand times? Turning beet red? Mouth dry? Perspiration? Forgetting whatyou are going to say next? Don’t worry – that’s normal!
Believe it or not, after 25 years and 60,000 people a year, I still get nervous. And I wouldn’t want it any differently. I always want to have that little scary edge that keeps me on my toes and never lets me take my job or my audiences for granted. But…I have definitely learned to conquer the major fears and “act” cool, calm and collected. But fear isn’t a speaker’s only concern. You may be worried about your message. Will it hit home? Will they like it? Will they see you as a credible expert who they would like to learn from? Today’s successful speaker needs both substance and style to make an audience sit up and take notice—and want you back again.
The reality is: most people today are being required more and more to give presentations – and for many of you, your job and income depend on it. I’m asked all the time by audience members and clients, “Connie, how can I be a better speaker?” Well, I can definitely help you accomplish that by sharing a few of my secrets to success. Ready? First….
EMBRACE YOUR NERVOUSNESS. Stop being so hard on yourself for feeling on edge. Realize that everyone in the audience admires you for just being up in front. Public speaking is people’s #1 fear. They are pulling for you. And they are very glad it’s you and not them who has to give the presentation. Take a deep breath and stop all the negative self-talk. I promise if you integrate the following tips, your nerves will calm and your brain will take over and give you the power to present like a pro.
Here are my top six tips for giving a powerful presentation…
1. GIVE THEM WHAT THEY NEED AND WANT: Believe me, people today don’t have time for a rah-rah speaker who just talks about how if you want it bad enough, have the right attitude and wish really hard—everything you want to come true will simply fall in your lap. Seriously? These are real audiences with real problems that need real solutions—if you can focus on helping them succeed by giving them strategies and tools that they can implement immediately–they will love you. Make sure your message moves people to take ACTION which will then lead to increased RESULTS. It’s great to be inspiring – but audiences today want to know the benefits to them right up front. What can you do for them? How can you help them achieve more, get more, have more? Deliver that and you’ll have them eating out of your hands.
2. MAKE IT ABOUT THEM, NOT YOU. I hear so many speakers who believe that telling their story is enough. Well, it isn’t enough—ever! While climbing a mountain, winning a gold medal or overcoming terrifying odds are great accomplishments—YOUR story alone is not enough to help your audiences succeed. It should not be about encouraging them to live up to YOUR story—it should be about helping them create their OWN amazing story based on the techniques you teach that can help them reach their goals. Make sure you’ve got some substance in your speech. Do you have take-aways that people can implement right away? Are you offering a fresh perspective/idea/innovation that can change their life for the better?
3. IT’S ALL IN THE DELIVERY. Audiences are sick and tired of slideshows—no matter how colorful and futuristic they may be. Simple as that. And I watch speakers who are truly addicted to power point. Understand that slides get in the way of your personal connection with the audience and are usually more of a crutch for the speaker than an added value to the audience. Do you understand how much more powerful and effective you can be when you realize that as the speaker – you ARE the visual. Instead of reading a screen, connect with the people in front of you. Ask questions, interact, participate and invite them to join in for the full experience. People will appreciate your candor, your openness and you making their presentation about THEM instead of a canned speech.
4. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX, AROUND THE BOX AND OVER THE BOX! Great speakers have amazingly fresh, unique and creative ideas. They take even a simple idea or concept and figure out how to deliver it in the most unusual of ways. They NEVER fall back on out-dated information, old stories, or information that has been heard over and over. Instead they draw from current experiences and challenge their audiences to be innovative and let go of the past. They are also very flexible when it comes to adding data, analogies, current events and examples, even at the last minute, so they can give their audience the most updated information possible. Another reason why slides get in your way—you are stuck with the presentation as is and cannot easily change, adapt or add new information if the situation calls for it.
5. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Ahhh…here’s to the differentiator! A great presenter knows their topic, their product and their audience like the back of their hand because they’ve taken the time to do the research. Even the best theories in the world need to fit the audience. Find out everything you can about the company, audience and culture of the people you are creating your message for. Then weave all of the above into a message where they will say to themselves, “That speaker understands exactly how I feel and think.” That way you’ll deliver an experience that is fresh for your group, vital to your success, timely for your market and customized for the organization.
6. YOU MUST ENTERTAIN THEM. Before you freak out, this doesn’t mean you have to be a comedienne. Although a great sense of humor goes an awfully long way to pleasing even the most difficult of audiences. I mean you must be full of life, energy and passion for your subject and your audience. There is absolutely nothing worse than a boring speaker. Avoid using a podium if humanly possible. Or keep notes on it and walk away whenever possible. Be excited—or act excited even if you are scared to death. Your passion, or lack of it, will determine the energy of the audience. They rely on you to set the tone. My research shows that without a doubt, if you want people to learn more, lighten up enough to open their minds and let go enough to adapt new ideas – you’ve got to let your energy shine through from the moment you take the stage. If you can deliver that – you’re on the right track.
I am passionate about helping people create more success and more opportunities for success in their lives and careers. If you’re about to take the stage or podium or just the front of the room – take these six tips with you. You’re going to do great–I know it! Follow me on Facebook or leave a message right here and let me know how you did!