Speaking to an audience is a golden opportunity to supercharge your career. These are the best ways to wow that audience:
1. Use a colour text system
You’ll never lose your place. Write the speech out in full on A4 paper. Important: use heavy paper that is easy
to separate as you’re reading. Block capital text is best; it’s easier to read. Essential: use felt-tip pens in varying colours, one paragraph in blue, the next in green. Underline key words in red for emphasis.
2. Get in close, speak from the table or within the crowd for a special, intimate relationship
Avoid: a stage – it is a barrier between you and the audience. It creates an ‘us and them’ feeling and you won’t get the results you deserve.
3. Use a mike, if necessary
And make sure it’s a free-standing one so you can still use both hands when speaking. Don’t: test the mike by blowing on it or saying ‘one two, one two’ – it looks unprofessional and clichéd. Better: just tap it gently to make sure it’s working.
4. Have a glass of water handy
Without it, your mouth will dry up. Also: use the glass of water as a prop, a punctuation device to control your audience. Example: take a drink while they’re laughing at a joke; you’ll soon train them to keep laughing until you’ve stopped drinking.
5. Start with a couple of announcements
They’ll ensure people are unaware you’ll be reading your speech word for word. After all, it’s natural to read these. You can then go straight into your speech, and they won’t even notice you’re reading. Advisable: bring your head up and look around regularly to convey a natural impression. Make eye-contact to build a rapport.
6. Offer soundbites
A speech can only ever be an exercise in superficiality. Give it too much substance and it becomes a lecture. And: remember that the average audience has a very short attention span, so you need to keep moving on. Tip: to be memorable, it needs bullet points, catchy words and humour. Try some one-liners – you can pinch these from joke books and personalise them to suit your situation. Do make them topical if you can. Helpful: laugh at your own jokes occasionally – it bonds you with your audience.