I recently worked with a client whom I had worked with many times before here in New York. It had been a while since we had seen each other and he wanted to go over some public speaking techniques. Since it had been a while, all of the things we had previously worked on were getting muddied in his mind and the things he was remembering clearly, weren't so clear at all. It was time for a refresher.
Here's a refresher for all of us!
Let's go over some points, things to do and things to remember before you walk out in front of your audience.
Shake it out! Make sure you can shake your body and it shakes! Don't just move your body, shake it! While shaking, let a voice come out. The sound should be shaken, make sure the voice is effected by the shaking. If your body is shaking and your voice isn't you are holding tension and you're not free. Free to think clearly, free to react, smile, improvise, and have a high presence.
What's going through your mind as you walk into the room? What are you thinking? If you are thinking about YOU, think again. You should be thinking about them: How can you help them? How you are going to teach them or enlighten them, and so on.. Make sure it's about them and not you.
When giving a speech or presentation, make sure you know how your feel about each different thing you are talking about and each point your're making. It's important to understand something both mentally and emotionally. The latter is how you will bring your audience to you. Ask yourself 'how do I feel about this?'
Don't forget to involve your audience, whether it be one person or 100 people. You need to keep them involved, so involve them! Ask some rhetorical questions, ask for a show of hands. Some good phrases to think about are "Has this ever happened to you?" (then go into your story), "Have you ever felt this way?" (then explain the feeling you've had or are having) or "How many times have you...?". You can come up with many more to involve your audience.
Make sure you have a high presence physically. Try not to hold tension anywhere (all attention is on them). Soft elbows, shoulders relaxed and put a smile on your face :-) . You want your audience to feel welcome. You want them to feel like they can come up to you and ask any question they might have. If you're holding tension in your body, if you're thinking about yourself and not your audience it makes it hard for someone to approach you.
You can do it! Feel free to email or call to talk about any of the above or to set up an session for one one one or in a group.
Lastly, I want to encourage you to make a 'check list' and keep in on your desk or in a drawer or somewhere easily accessible. You can glance at it everyday to make sure you are incorporating the skills we have learned into your everyday encounters. They aren't hard, you just have to have them at the ready.