Nobody actually wants to stumble and bumble through a presentation or speech. In fact, for most of us, this thought represents our worst nightmare. Fear not! There are four significant actions you can preplan that will move your delivery away from beginner status to professional levels.
1) Professional speakers start by preparing a solid, entertaining or intriguing opening or introduction. The four biggest openers include jokes, quotes, rhetorical questions or unusual/interesting facts that grab audience attention. Remember your jokes have to be relevant to your topic. You can’t simply tell your favorite. Quotes should be from an individual who is easily understood to have credibility – although they can be either positive or negative. Rhetorical questions are generally fashioned to cause a participant to think about a topic in terms of singular situations that would affect him/her specifically.
2) Professional speakers know their own speaking style. Some individuals are able to memorize entire speeches without a glitch. Others cannot. It’s perfectly fine to use notes or cue cards as long as we maintain eye contact with the audience more than with any card/note. If you find yourself almost believing you’re able to memorize your entire speech, prepare the cue cards anyway – just to keep yourself on track.
3) Professional speakers never hide behind technology. PowerPoint presentations and other props are supposed to be additions to what YOU have to say. You are the main event! It’s perfectly acceptable to support your talk with charts, diagrams, etc.…, but audience attention will always primarily be centered on you – for better or worse. Always keep this in mind.
4) Professional speakers issue calls to action. No speech or presentation should ever be given without imparting how the audience can move your ideas forward. In other words, the listener is meant to do something as a result of spending his/her time listening to your words. A speech given without cause is no more than a one-sided conversation.
By adding these four aspects of public speaking to your personal presentations, you can rest assured that you have moved out of the amateur line up and over to the professional.