Sunday, July 12, 2009

Your priorities: "Dynamic, memorable"

Here's another public-speaking priority shared in the discussion board on the Eloquent Woman's Facebook page:
I want to be more dynamic and memorable when I speak. I tend to stick to the facts. I'd like to be more entertaining and humorous, without getting off topic or sounding unprofessional.
Sounds like this reader is ready to branch out from the basics and into the sphere of speakers with an impact...a goal to which we all should aspire. The good news: You don't need to be a superheroine of speaking to become dynamic and memorable. And, even better, there's no need to drift from your points or get unprofessional to be entertaining and humorous in your speech or presentation. Here are some tips to get you started:
  • Get energized by joining the audience: Our tips for speakers who've lost the audience also work well for those who haven't--but want to reinvigorate their approach to speaking. They offer a mix of physical movement in the room, gestures and engaging the audience to enliven any talk or presentation.
  • Make one change at a time. Give every improvement a tryout, then add more enhancements to your speeches once you're comfortable with the first change. You might start by opening a talk with audience questions...then figure out where to add humor...then layer in gestures...or practice how to react to the audience in ways that are more energetic or engaged.
  • Plan your humor. The best way to keep humor professional? Plan it enough so that it's relaxed and real, but appropriate. (Hint: You'll need to rehearse jokes in particular, as they're tougher to recall for most speakers.) Always keep in mind that humor that makes others uncomfortable isn't funny to the audience--whether those who are the subjects of it, or those observing. Check out all our tips on humor, from pratfalls that work to pitfalls, here.
  • Lose your safety nets. I'm working on a post about this to come, but if you lose your prepared text, your place behind the lectern or your serious tone, you'll gain an audience that sees you as increasingly dynamic and entertaining. Be the surprise they're hoping for!

Related posts: Enter our contest 15 Weeks to Step Up Your Speaking to work on your priorities

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