I’ve come across some phenomenal speakers in my day; unfortunately, not all of them were phenomenally paid. Many of them were making very little money for their time and effort. Because they didn’t know or understand the nuances of how to give a speech, let alone how to give a speech that keeps the audience engaged, creates suspense, and is insanely profitable.
In my course, Speaking Like A Leader, we walk through my signature step-by-step process for speech writing. We cover weaving your 3E’s (experience, expertise, and education), your Origin Brand Story, and Charismatic Cliffhanger into a presentation that will captivate your audience whether you’re selling from the stage or not.
To deliver a powerful message that will leave your audience hanging on your every word, here are 13 tips.
How To Prepare A Speech
When giving a speech, preparation is of the utmost importance. Most people fear public speaking. Even if you don’t, don’t underestimate the power of being prepared. When I’m coaching my clients in preparing their presentations, I tell them to expect the unexpected.
Plan your speech
Before you start writing, take the time to plan your points. What is the message that you want to deliver? This will help ensure that your presentation flows well and that you cover all the essential issues.
Create a backup plan
Unfortunately, things go wrong. A slide may not work. The sound system might not be ideal any number of things can go wrong that are out of your control. The best way to deal with the unexpected is to have a backup plan.
For example, if you’re using slides, have a backup on your computer and a USB drive. If you’re using a teleprompter, have your speech printed so you can refer to it if needed.
Your speech’s structure
Once you have a general idea of what you want to say, create an outline of your speech. An overview will keep you on track and ensure that each point is covered.
A basic overview should include:
1. Create a captivating introduction
2. Briefly explain your background
3. Explain how your background relates to your topic
3. Introduce your topic
4. Cover the main points of your speech
5. Summarize your points
The Speech Cheatsheet
Now it’s time to start writing! Start with your captivating introduction. Here’s a cheat sheet for you:
Good morning (or afternoon), everyone. My name is ________ and I am the (title) of _____ (company/organization). I am very excited to be here today to talk to you about _____ (topic).
Then move into your background story.
I got my start in _____ (industry) when _____ (an event that led you to your current path).
Since then, I have _____ (explain your journey).
This experience has allowed me to see _____ (a perspective that you have gained).
Now, introduce your topic.
Today, I want to talk to you about _____ (topic). This is important because _____ (the reason why your issue is essential).
Next, cover the main points of your speech. Remember to keep it engaging. Use stories, examples, and data to support your points.
Lastly, summarize your key points.
In summary, _____ (restate your main points).
Be sure to end with a solid call to action.
Practice, practice, practice
It’s essential to practice your speech before you deliver it. This will help ensure that you know it well and are comfortable with it. The more you practice, the more confident you will be. You can practice in front of a mirror, with friends or family, or even by recording yourself. Pay attention to your body language and voice.
Your body language and voice greatly influence how your audience perceives you. Crossing your arms or legs can make you appear closed off. Make eye contact with as many people as possible.
Time your speech
Be sure to time your presentation before delivering it to know how long it is. Being prepared will help keep you on track and avoid over or under time. Going over your allotted time is unacceptable and can be considered unprofessional in the eyes of others.
How To Keep The Crowd’s Attention
Control the energy in the room
It’s vital to be energetic when giving a speech. Your energy will help keep the crowd’s attention and engage more. If the attendees are low energy, try to inject some enthusiasm into your voice; if the crowd is too high energy, tone it down so you don’t come across as frantic.
Use visuals such as graphs, charts, or images to help illustrate your points. Visuals will help people follow along and understand your message better. You can also use visuals to add a little comedic relief.
Move around the stage.
This also helps you project your voice better. Moving also keeps the crowd engaged as it creates energy.
Make eye contact
Make eye contact with different members of the audience to keep them engaged. Have you ever noticed that during some of the most famous speeches of our decade, the orator always used eye contact with the crowd and sometimes the camera to drive their point home? This is because eye contact is essential when delivering a speech. It makes the audience feel like you are speaking to them directly and not just giving a rehearsed speech.
Use humor sparingly; when you keep your audience and the setting in mind, the proper joke can lighten the mood, create camaraderie, and keep the audience’s attention. Keep your audience and setting in mind when using humor.
Vary your tone and volume
Vary your tone and volume throughout your speech to keep the audience engaged. When making a point, lower your voice to create suspense and raise your voice when you want to emphasize something. Pause for effect; use pauses throughout your presentation for effect. This helps to keep the audience’s attention and creates suspense.
People love stories. When speaking to an audience, give accounts that engage the audience by asking them questions or getting them to participate in activities.
So, you’ve learned how to keep your audience’s attention from beginning to end. You’ve perfected your body language, timing, and tone. You’ve used humor and visuals to engage them even further. Now it’s time to bring it all together and deliver a powerful closing that summarizes your main points.
Remember, speaking is your opportunity to drive home your message and leave a lasting impression on your audience. If you are ready to become a Master Communicator, speak to one of our Coaches about our Signature Program Speaking Like A Leader.