Tuesday, July 21, 2009

tips from 7 readers: best speaking advice

I asked folks on Twitter and Facebook to share the best public speaking advice that they've ever received--and actually put to use. (There's plenty of advice to go around, but I wanted some time-tested ideas. Seven readers weighed in with a variety of ideas related to engaging the audience, managing yourself during a speech and how to prepare. Here's their best advice:

  • Beth Schachter says: "Show up early and introduce yourself to a few audience members as they arrive. Often this gives you new information to use in your presentation that will be tailored to the particular group."

  • Germaine Palangdao suggests you "bring in the human element - give examples from your own personal life. It increases the connection with the audience. You could see how the they (the audience) are mesmerized."

  • Mary Fletcher Jones says she's been advised to "LISTEN to the question before you answer it next time!" And you may want to ask a question of your questioner before answering, if you're not quite clear on what's prompting the question.

  • Dave Ryan says, "Contrary to most intros & presentations, don't talk about your background first...rather, engage the audience with a question, and slip your bio in later."

  • Sarah Milstein urges you to "practice, out loud, 5 - 10 times, with your slides, and time yourself. Ironically, the practice will help you seem spontaneous."

  • Nancy Carr offers: "Put [stop] and [breathe] into your note cards at appropriate intervals."

  • Tiffany Lohwater shares "1) slow down 2) find ways to involve the audience 3) leave time for Q&A."

Related posts: Graceful ways with Q&A

Tell a story on yourself: using the personal in a speech

All our tips on speech preparation