30 Ways to Be a Great Speaker

30 Ways to Be a Great Speaker

1. Craft an interesting title to your presentation/speech

2. Open with a Bang. Use a question/anecdote/quote.

3. Smile when you get up on stage. It'll boost your confidence and build rapport with the audience.

4. Make eye-contact with your audience to build a connection. 

5. Keep it simple. Narrow down your message into one simple idea that everyone in the audience will understand.

6. Limit the number of points you talk about

7. Keep it conversational. Sound human. Don't use jargon and vocabulary that you wouldn't use in daily conversations.

8. Use stories to illustrate your points 

9. Use analogies to make your point clear 

10. Use acronyms to make your points memorable

11. Use metaphors and similes to create visual images

12. Make strategic use of pauses. Use pauses to allow your audience to digest particularly difficult bits of information. Use pauses after questions to allow the audience to reflect.

13. Involve the audience with an activity

14. Ask questions. Get them to discuss the answers between themselves in pairs to get their creative juices flowing. And then ask them to report their answers back to you.

15. Use the 12 Power Words to engage your listeners

16. Keep your presentation/speech You-focused. Keep the focus on the audience.

17. Sell the benefits, not the features. 

18. Tease your audience into wanting to know more. Don't tell, tease.

19. Give the audience a Next Step that you want them to take. 

20. Repeat catch-phrases often and your point will be remembered.

21. Keep your talk positive. Avoid talking about depressing topics. Your audience will be more receptive if your talk gives them hope.

22. Use handouts to increase retention rates. 

23. DO NOT read from your Powerpoint Presentation. Add value to the slides by elaborating on the points and sharing your opinions and stories.

24. Limit the number of bullet points per slide to no more than 3 

25. No paragraphs on slides! Avoid a large bunch of text on the slide.

26. Use vocal variety. Avoid speaking in a monotone or you'll bore your audience. Add emphasis to certain words, change your pitch and tone to reflect different emotions (surprise, fear, love). Use a voice-recorder and record your presentation, and then ask a friend to review the recording and to help you add vocal variety. 

27. Use open body-language (i.e. no crossed arms, no hands in pockets).

28. Keep your gestures natural. No over-exaggeration. Record yourself using a video-camera and ask a friend to review your body language.

29. Practice, practice, practice! Rehearse your speech at least twice before you step up on stage. Rehearse mentally (visualize yourself giving an engaging speech) right before you step up on stage.

30. Join a Toastmasters club. You gain plenty of stage time, build your confidence and receive valuable tips from experienced speakers.

31. Realize it's a process. Becoming a better speaker and communicator takes practice. You won't see drastic improvements overnight, but you'll get better and better with each presentation. Relax, have fun, and make a commitment to being a better speaker than you were the yesterday.

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