Have you ever sat through a presentation, even on a topic that interests you, knowing that if there was a test half an hour later you’d flunk it. You tried to listen. You wanted the information or the motivation but somehow it was hard to focus on what the speaker was saying.
And now it’s your turn. You are going to be the one up there in front of the room. You are going to be different. You are going to be dynamic. Your message will be taken in and remembered weeks – maybe months – later.
Here’s how you can do that. Here are seven easy steps to becoming the speaker that the audience remembers.
1. Prepare. Do the research so that you know your topic inside and out. Look at the topic from different viewpoints and decide which approach to take
2. The approach depends on your audience. Write down all you know about them – age range, education level, background. ask yourself why they are interested in this topic and what you can offer that will be of value to them. Narrow the focus down so you are not covering a wide swath of known material, you are presenting information of key interest.
3. Write your speech out and rehearse it. Time yourself so you know the material can be fitted comfortably into the time allotted. If possible practice in front of a friend and ask – Was there anything you didn’t understand? Did I lose you at any point? Was my voice clear? Tell me, what could I improve?
4. Incorporate some humor into your speech. Self deprecating humor is good.
5. Check the venue ahead of time. Make sure everything you need is in place and that the electronics all work the way they should.
6. Give the person introducing you a strong, relevant introduction to yourself and your topic. Ask them to deliver it just the way you wrote it.
7. Go to the front of the room or on stage as if you are eager to be there, as if you can’t wait to get into your presentation and share it.
8. Smile. Make eye contact. Connect with people. Remember they are not ‘an audience’ at this moment, they are individual people.
9. Don’t try to impress with big words or with lots of knowledge that isn’t relevant to your core message.
10. People only remember a few facts at a time. Make a point and tell a story to give the fact context and meaning. People will remember your stories and that will help them remember the point you made. Skipping the stories and adding more facts just adds blur. If you want them to have more information, use hand outs.
When you are the speaker you feel as if it is all about you. In fact it’s about you and your connection to the audience, to each individual person in the room. You are sharing, not giving, You need to connect before you can communicate.
Your connection and your preparation will make you a memorable speaker.