It’s always great to hear what other people use as tips and tricks for public speaking. For many, public speaking is scary. One of the main reasons public speaking is so intimidating is that people think they should be an expert in their field to talk about it. However, this isn’t the case (just look on YouTube). You don’t need to be a professional to tell a cool story or interesting experience.
10 tips and tricks from seasoned and new speakers alike:
If you’re nervous or something is going on, tell the audience. For example, this panelist had to give a talk in a second language. She was upfront about the fact and the audience had a good laugh when she mixed up a word. But they were kind and helped her correct it.
Great speakers are made, not born. Practice everywhere. Practice in the shower, in your head when you’re falling asleep at night, and when you’re driving the car. This will make your talk sound effortless when you do get up on stage.
Find the buzzwords to speak at when at a conference. When I spoke at IIEX 2017, there was a lot of talk about emotional intelligence. I heard it from the crowd, saw it based on the exhibitors, and hear it in presenter’s speeches. I could have easily tied it into my presentation on virtual reality.
Don’t’ look at the timer. Trust your speech. If your conference gives you a timer, try to ignore it. Hopefully, you have practiced your speech enough that you know it fits in the time limit. The audience can tell if you are watching the timer instead of engaging them. Also, it can trip you up.
If you get a question you don’t know the answer to say, “very interesting question, but it’s not my expertise. I can get you in touch with someone who is though.”
Public speaking is easy, it’s having the expertise that’s hard. Start by being a host or volunteering for the conference. This way, you’ll get out in front of the crowd but the main spotlight won’t be on you.
Talk about something that relates to attendees without being about the conference theme. For example, IIEX Europe was a marketing research conference but I talked about the pain of conference calls. That’s something everything could relate too. I didn’t have to rehash the topics we were already hearing over and over at the conference.
Build a network, look who is attending the conference. The conference gurus I know always have a list of people in their mind they want to talk too before even attending the conference. They know background information of the people and how they are going to pitch what to talk about. A couple of weeks before I attended IIEX Europe, I already had a few messages in my inbox from attendees who wanted to meet while we were there.
“Finally, a millennial!” Every conference loves young people on stage. It can be intimidating for younger people to step on stage, but it is definitely worth it. I heard from multiple folks from the Baby Boomer generation that they enjoyed seeing and hearing from younger presenters on stage.
Have fun! At the end of the day, if you’re having fun your audience will have fun too.