You’ve landed a speaking gig for a local organization that has your ideal clients in the audience.
Yay for you! After you’re done doing the happy dance, how do you prepare?
Most speakers and presenters make some big mistakes. Since lots of people make these mistakes, they’re often not seen as blunders. But these can keep you from being seen as a great speaker, and keep you from getting clients at an event.
These 5 tips will help you ace your next speaking gig.
1) Don’t use slides.
Although powerpoint is almost synonymous with speaking, it’s often not a good idea. Especially if you’re in the transformational world, and talking about emotion, slides will keep the audience focused on a screen, not on you.
The best alternative is to use a big easel and paper. Not only does this make your talk more dynamic, but there’s a subconscious feeling of ‘she’s a genius’ when you reveal your brilliance by writing it as you talk. If you’re just showing slides, your material feels less connected to you.
2) If you do use slides, use images not words.
If you must use slides, use images with very little text. One of the most common mistakes with slides is to have multiple bullet points with lots of text. Now you’re not even giving a talk – you’re just getting an audience to read together. (Remember when you had to do that in 3rd grade? Ugh!)
An image with a short phrase can be powerful. Of course, you’re going to say a lot more than that short phrase, but the image can help with the emotion of the point you’re trying to make. You can supply the words as you speak.
3) Give a fill-in-the-blank handout.
If your talk is short, you may not have a handout at all. If you’re teaching several strategic points, and a handout would be helpful, supply a handout with key words missing. Use a ‘fill-in-the-blank’ model for your handout, and you get two benefits: one, people will stay engaged as they fill out the handout, and two, your audience will get an ‘aha’ sensation as you reveal the answers. Fill-in-the-blank handouts are great for creating the ‘she’s a genius’ factor.
4) Practice everything.
Most speakers don’t practice enough. Take a tip from performing musicians: you’re ready to give your talk or presentation when you’re bored silly with it. You’ve practiced it so many times you could give it in your sleep. Great!
Adrenaline will kick in when you get in front of an audience. If your talk isn’t totally familiar and comfortable for you, you’re risking more mistakes. You can also practice imagining that you have an interruption – how will you handle it? You can practice dropping your index cards – can you continue without notes? The more you visualize different scenarios and how to deal with them, the more relaxed and confident you will be.
5) Fewer concepts, more stories.
Most transformational entrepreneurs love their modalities, and have a conceptual understanding of what they do. Explaining concepts can be tricky in a talk, especially if you’re not using slides (good for you!) Using stories to illustrate your points is far more memorable than sharing more about a concept.
Analogies and metaphors can work well, too, if you don’t have a story. Using something that the audience can relate to and understand, and tying your new ideas to those, makes you much more easily understood. For example, if you’re talking about a spiritual journey, relate it to traveling by car, since that’s easily understood.
Giving a great talk, whether it’s 10 minutes or 3 hours, is a skill that takes practice. Applying these tips to your current talks will make your more memorable, get you invited back, and help you attract more clients!
What’s your favorite speaking tip? Share with me on Facebook!