My students always tell me how much they hate to do live speaking engagements. Still, I know it's a good way to build a practice or any type of business for that matter. So.... here are a few tips I've gleaned from all sorts of presentation professionals.
1. Find a few people in the audience with whom you can make eye contact. People associate eye contact with honesty.
2. Take pauses to allow words or Power Point information to sink in.
3. Don't put your hands in your pockets and jingle your coins (remove the keys and coins from your pockets if you have such things). Remember that body language is 50-60% of communication. Hands in pockets reveals discomfort.
4. Don't point at people. It took years of training coaches to get Bill Clinton to stop pointing his finger during speeches! It reminds people unconsciously of their mother!
5. The talk should be for and about the audience, not about you. You'll bore people to death if you go into great detail about yourself. Put all that you want to say about you on the back of your handout materials or in your other educational materials that people can get before or after the talk.
6. Be friendly. Smile and connect with people even if you are nervous. In fact this will help you with the nervousness. Your body language will change if you are smiling. And, wonder of wonder, you can feel less nervous if you are smiling!
7. If you are really serious about this, video yourself and take a look. Are you standing up straight, wearing a good color for you, speaking with care and passion? is your voice strong, friendly and believable. (38% of communication is how your voice sounds). People believe what they see more than the words you say. (Words are only 8% of communication)!
8. Ask your audience a few questions, even if they are "rhetorical" or even though you know what the answers will be. This helps involve people and makes it feel as if you are speaking directly to each person.
9. Take a sign-up list to pass around to collect contact information and sign people up for your newsletter, notices for classes, lectures, special sales, etc. Also take along your appointment schedule...you never know who may wish to sign up on the spot.
10. At the end, tie your presentation back to your main, initial point. For example if this blog were a speech, I might say something like... "At the beginning of this lecture, I said you'd know how to be a better presenter. By attempting to model this for you in my talk today, I hope to have given you some good tips for being a better, more relaxed, and more confident public speaker."
I have tons of blogs like this one archived at the www.BluePoppy.com blog. You can take a look any time. And finally..., I will be giving an entire day-long lecture on all kinds of business growing and start-up ideas at the New England School of Acupuncture in March, 2011. Check out the link for more details. Thanks for reading. http://www.nesa.edu/calendar/show_item/112