If you’re nervous about an upcoming speech or perhaps you want to improve your speaker skills, follow these tips by Fabián Narváez Tovar, keynote speaker and CEO of V.Group Mexico.
1.- Arrive early
Inspect the room. Make adjustments to the seating and lighting to your preference. Test the microphone. Test your projector or the audiovisual equipment you’re gonna use. Always speak to the person who’s going to introduce you and greet people as they arrive, that’ll establish a connection with them.
2.-Adjust your attitude
Always know that the audience wants you to succeed, no audience wishes to sit through a boring incoherent speech. Remind yourself that you want your audience to succeed as well. (Your proposal or idea is going to help them solve a problem, achieve a goal, etc.)
Before you even speak, people will be looking at you. You have to look confident and excited, this will help you start on the right foot.
4.- Walk to the podium with confidence
When you’re introduced, walk confidently to the podium and shake the hand of the person who introduced you.
5.- Establish your space
If there’s a podium, set your notes down. Adjust the microphone so it points to your mouth.
Plant your feet. Take a breath. Look up. Take another breath. If you’re giving a speech without a podium, walk to where you want to stand. Plant your feet. Take a breath. Look at your audience. Take another breath.
6.- Connect with the audience
Look at your audience one person at a time. Don’t address the audience as a whole. Speak to individuals. Look at one person. Establish eye contact. And speak to that person for 5 to 7 seconds. Then find someone else to look at and repeat the process.
7.- Speak from notes or if possible, from memory
Don’t read your entire speech word for word. If you’re using PowerPoint, do not read your slides. You will bore everyone – including yourself – to death. Use the PowerPoint slides, an outline, handouts, or 3 by 5 cards to jog your memory. Remember, your aim is to communicate a message, not say each and every word you planned on speaking.
8.- Speak as if you are holding an animated conversation
Say “I” and “you.” Anything else – “this speaker” or “yours truly” – sounds pompous. Avoid saying “you,” however, in a judgmental or blaming context. (Almost any statement that begins with “you people” is bound to end badly.) Speak in language, images, and terms that the audience readily understands. If you need to use jargon, define it immediately unless you know that every person in your audience understands it.
9.- Be yourself
If you have a good sense of humor, use it. If you’re a wonderful storyteller, by all means tell a story. Never imitate another speaker, even a good one. You’ll sound – and feel – phony. Don’t try to be unique or interesting. Be as fully and completely yourself, unrestrained by your fears and desire to please others, and you will be both unique and interesting.
10.- Convey yourself – your feelings and commitment – not just your content