Have you ever walked away from the podium and, within ten minutes or so, felt yourself actually wither? Maybe you’ve experienced a sudden rush of fatigue or your legs turning to Jello - to the point where you needed to find a place to sit for just a minute. Have you discovered the reason why your body must take a minute to recoup? It’s because the act of speaking is actually a huge transference of energy. As any speaker invests in an audience, there is a ton of activity going on! And since, you’re doing so much work, you may as well get the most out of it. Here are a few tips for maximizing your special brand of pizazz!
Confidence is key. Your audience will buy into most any topic if you demonstrate your absolute commitment up front. Make sure your crowd knows that you know what you’re all about from the moment you step onto the platform. Confidence shows in several ways: your smile, step, and how you posture yourself. No shrinking back. Engage!
Passion can overcome less-than-perfect speaking skills. Your exhilaration will always be contagious, in spite of any presentation faux pas. The majority of all audiences want to experience your excitement, so let your zeal flow.
You can press your audience into emotional partnership through storytelling. Want them to laugh? Tell an appropriate joke or, better yet, a story about YOU that demonstrates how similar you are to those listening. Don’t be afraid to explore humor. Even the off-centered joke that falls flat can be a moment to pull those in the room over to your side. A simple “Okay, messed that one up.” can often generate humor and appreciation.
Read from your notes as little as possible. Unless you’re quoting actual statistics or numbers, the more you stay away from your notes the better. The ability to talk freely about your topic demonstrates its importance level to you. Speaking off the top of your head causes your expertise to shine. It may take a bit of practice ahead of time to accomplish this feat, but it is well worth your efforts.
If you’re going to exert yourself, while behind the dais, you may as well make every movement, nuance and word count. By exhibiting confidence from the start, allowing your passion to flow through your stories and looking your audience straight in the eye, you gain the pizazz you need to succeed!