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Thursday, September 8, 2011

9 Tips to Be a Superstar Speaker

Presenting to a group -- large or small -- can cause even the best of us to doubt our abilities and expertise. However, follow these simple tips and you'll be a more engaging, dynamic -- and perhaps even charismatic speaker. 
"Yes, you can have FUN and be professional," says Brenda Meller.
  1. Don't apologize to your audience. We don't know that you had to condense your usual 60-minute presentation into 15 minutes, or that you typically use PowerPoint slides and are speaking off the cuff. Nor do we know that you were stuck in traffic or otherwise feeling rushed. Project confidence and poise. We like to see happy, confident speakers.
  2. Speak on a topic that is related to, but not a direct part of your profession. This technique will captivate us because we feel that you are sharing your knowledge and not selling to us. Choose a topic that is near and dear to your heart. Your passion and enthusiasm will show. Plus you'll be more likely to get referrals for other speaking gigs.
  3. Incorporate personal stories into your presentation. This helps us visualize your points, and makes your presentation more memorable.
  4. Conversational presentations are better than lectures. Bring your audience into the presentation by using names from your audience, and encouraging Q&A at the end.
  5. Remember to speak S-L-O-W-L-Y. You should strive to speak at a rate of speech that feels too slow if you were talking to someone one-on-one. It gives us time to process what you are saying.
  6. Have fun! We, the audience, enjoy those speakers who look as if they are enjoying themselves. Yes, you can have fun and be professional. 
  7. Handouts are helpful. Give us one sheet of paper with your key points. That way we can keep notes. Make sure you include your contact info on that sheet, including your Twitter name if you have one.
  8. Before you begin, ask a few audience members to answer a question related to your topic. this helps with #4.
  9. Using notes is okay, but please don't read your presentation. You know your stuff! Trust me, you do. If you don't know your stuff, you should rehearse it thoroughly until you do, or pick another topic. 

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