From good to great – public speaking tips

speech-on-stageIf you’re presenting in business it’s essential to be prepared. That means things like knowing your audience, what issues they’re facing, what you want to achieve, and of course the practicalities like lighting, projection and sound. But in some respects you also want an element of spontaneity and freshness in your approach. Acting coaches encourage their students to make their performances as fresh as possible, assured but as if it was the first time they’d given it.

A couple of tips here…First, read the papers the day of your talk. Chances are you can draw something from the day’s news stories. I changed my opening yesterday in response to England’s qualification for the World Cup Football – the theme being leadership & motivation (and the impact Capello has had on the players).

Second, take a bit of time to mingle amongst the audience before the speech. You’ll chat to a few people and get to know them and their own stories. When you deliver you can draw from this, engaging with the people you’ve met which makes it more personal and interactive – and of course more ‘live’, natural and up to date.

These sorts of tactics make the difference between a solid performance and a great one.

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