Do a Google search for “public speaking tips” and you will find 313,000,000 results. I hope I can share a few tips here that you may not be familiar with.
This post came as a result of me doing a recent search for a specific image on Flickr. That’s when I happened upon this photo by the late, great Dave Barger. I hadn’t seen the photo in years. I was surprised to note the photo is from 2008.
I’ve been presenting to audiences for over ten years.
Dave’s photo made me reflective on the lessons I have learned. I’ve presented to audiences in the thousands and in the tens, so I decided to share a few tips I hope you find useful.
Whether you are just getting started as a speaker or you’ve been doing this a long time, I hope these lessons help you.
Public Speaking Tips You Haven’t Heard Before
I always ask conference organizers the following questions, “What does success look like in the minds of your audience?” and “Who are the most popular speakers you have had? What made them stand out?” This information helps me craft my presentation with the audience in mind.
Give the audience a way to get in touch with you after your presentation. Include a slide with your URL/email/phone number/social. Bonus points for leaving them something of value like a digital download of your presentation or cheat sheet with takeaways from your talk. I use a text-to-download service for this*. Anyone who downloads the PDF also gets subscribed to my email newsletter. This is noted before they download the document, so they can choose not to if they prefer.
* If you use such a service and you’re speaking in a different country be sure this will still work.
Always talk to the AV team before your talk. They are there to support you (not work for you). Do a mic and presentation test to be sure everything looks and works the way you expect. Test it from the stage not the AV booth. Don’t rely on a solid Wi-Fi connection. Embed videos if you plan to include them.
Avoid using other peoples' equipment whenever possible. If you must use their equipment, test it ahead of time. For example, the range of the clicker may not be wide enough for you to work the entire stage or move around the floor.
Get as much information as possible about the audience. The more you know, the better you can make your presentation.
Research the city. I search the city in Google News to find topics I should mention and perhaps avoid.
Eat locally. I try to plug a local restaurant or coffee shop I discovered before the event. Audiences appreciate you spending your money locally instead of hiding in your hotel room or going to a chain restaurant.
Be respectful to the organizers, audience, and other speakers by staying on time. I just bought a small countdown timer to pack along with my gear. Other speakers I know use their watches, iPads, and apps. Keynote and Powerpoint also include a timer if you are presenting with you computer in view.
I hope these tips will serve you well. Leave a comment with your favorite public speaking tip. I’m always learning, even though I’ve been doing this for a while