Ten Top Tips for Tip Top Talks

Tip 1 - Know the room

Arrive early, walk around the room, and see areas which might be a problem. Check out the potential blind spots where the audience might not be able to see you and ensure you don’t stand in those positions on stage. Practice out loud so you can get a feel for the sound of your voice in the room and be sure to test any equipment to make sure it’s working and places where you need it to be. Make sure you have a backup if it goes wrong.

Tip 2 - Know your Audience

Greet some of them as they arrive – it’s easier to speak with friends than a group of strangers so introduce yourself to them personally if possible and build some rapport. If it is a corporate event, try and meet the team before the session to find out more about their problems and issues so you can help tailor solutions and offer them valuable takeaways. Try to include topical material but avoid jokes depending on the purpose of the event. Read the room and adapt accordingly.

Tip 3 - Make an Impact

Start your speech with some interaction with the audience. Use a prop, ask a question, or give a memorable quote. Remember their names from before and address them directly during the speech if appropriate. This will give them great inclusion into the presentation. Whatever you do it has to be relevant to the speech and the audience. Do not try to be funny if this is not your natural style. It won’t work.

Tip 4 - Have a structure

Always make sure your speech has a beginning, middle and an end. Try to link the ending back to the beginning so the whole speech makes sense and serves its purpose. Have a key point and make sure it is the one that the organiser of the event wants you to cover. Make the whole speech relevant to that audience, no one wants to listen to something they think doesn’t have anything to do with them.

Tip 5 - Know your material

Pick a topic you are interested in or that you know a lot about. Know more about the subject than you include in your speech so that you’re prepared for any questions asked afterwards. Try to tell personal stories to bring the subject alive and use conversational language, there’s nothing worse than overly dry, dull content being spoken at you as an audience memeber.

Tip 6 - Always Make a Point

Any speech talk or presentation must have a point. Make sure you have a point that is relevant, both to the story and to the audience. Think about the audience and what they want to hear and build your topic around that. Make it relevant to them. Top tip – tell a story, and remember that words tell, stories sell.

Tip 7 - Use Gestures and Emotions

If you make the audience cry or laugh you are halfway there! Use gestures to add impact but make sure you don’t use unnecessary movements. Always maintain good eye contact. Rest for a few seconds on each area of the room. Avoid umms and errs and all the other filler words. Emotion is by far the biggest impact you can have, make your audience connect with what you’re talking about to keep them interested in what you have to say.

Tip 8 - Write it down

It doesn’t matter whether you have done it before or if this is a new speech – if you write it down you can change it, add to it, and take parts away. Having notes gives you more confidence knowing that you will never forget what you are going to say. You can have these in your pocket just in case you need to refer to them – just be sure you’re not standing reading directly from them. This will make your performance dry, dull and unengaging.

Tip 9 - Practice! Practice! Practice!

Rehearse out loud – talk to your family, friends, or the dog – always try to run through the speech beforehand. Practicing the speech means you don’t need to rely on the equipment. Practice the beginning so you get off to a great start. Rehearse the middle – make sure you have three clear points, Most importantly know the ending so that if you have to cut the speech short you always finish with the impactful ending by reducing some of the middle. Going out with a bang makes you much more memorable than if you get cut short with no real conclusion.

Tip 10 - Keep It Simple

Yes – the KISS formula. Keep Is Super Simple. Avoid jargon and acronyms as it can lose your audience if they don’t know what you’re talking about. If it is a technical presentation, tell it so that an inexperienced person could understand it. Have confidence – if you do get it wrong don’t apologise – they’ll never know. Try to enjoy yourself, your audience will feel whatever energy you’re putting out, so be comfortable with what you’re saying and that will come across in your speaking.

Join us as a guest at a meeting to find out how Toastmasters can help you. We meet every second and fourth Tuesday of the month.

Phil Heath

Treasurer and Found Member of Strictly Speaking Harrogate Toastmasters

About Phil

Phil Heath – DTM As a trainer/consultant in International Standards, Phil visited many countries in the last few years. Egypt, Turkey, Ukraine, every time he left the country there was a riot, a bombing, or an invasion! Phil joined Toastmasters in 2003 and has the honour of being a twice Distinguished Toastmaster. Before Phil became a professional speaker he was a trainer and sales consultant for many companies. As philthefunnel he now coaches organisations and individuals in the art of presentations with a focus on confident communication.

Phil Heath – Creating Confidence with Communication

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