Do you know how to give a speech?
Many people often ask me for keynote speaker tips when they are preparing for their own speech or presentation.
Standing in front of an audience and giving a speech can be intimidating and at times even scary. That’s because whenever you stand in front of a group, large or small, your influence and effectiveness are on the line. It doesn’t matter the occasion; public speaking is an easy way for people to form an opinion of you and your leadership ability.
Here are four tips that will help assure your success when you present.
4 Keynote Speaker Tips on How to Give a Speech
1. Have confidence in yourself.
Being a good public speaker does not require magic or genius. What it does require is a desire to communicate well.
Do you feel comfortable with the way you communicate with your friends, coworkers, and family? If so, think of public speaking as an extension of the communicating you do every single day—you’re simply speaking to a slightly larger group.
The ease and confidence with which you talk every day is the same manner that you need when you are speaking in front of a room full of people.
So just remember: even if you’ve never given a speech, you’ve done this before!
When I give my keynote presentations, I always prepare and practice. This is another effective way to build legitimate confidence. Your confidence will increase in direct proportion to how prepared you are when you finally speak.
Excellence is never achieved easily and that is true in speaking. The number one reason most presenters bomb is a lack of preparation.
Another important thing to remember is that you must capture your audience’s attention very quickly—at the beginning of your speech. Your opening lines should be confident, engaging, and interesting. Read this blog post for tips on how to improve your opening lines.
Don’t get overwhelmed. Be comfortable with who you are. Don’t try to present yourself as something different.
The more your personality comes through, the more authentic the audience will find you, the more your passion will seep into your presentation.
Your job isn’t to impress the audience with what they think of you, but to influence people to think or do something because of your message.
Your message is yours, but you will succeed when you make it about the audience.
3. Keep it simple—and short.
When I’m talking about how to give a speech, one of my go-to keynote speaker tips is to keep it simple.
There was a time when people would listen attentively to speeches that were literally hours long.
Those times, as you know, have passed.
Now that there are so many ways to get information—TV, radio, print media, the internet—live speeches need to be short, simple, and memorable.
The more succinct and to the point you are when you give a speech, the better your message will resonate with your audience. Don’t overthink it! (You can learn more about the dangers of overthinking here)
Here’s an example: take a look at the Gettysburg Address. It is about 270 words long.
The address also uses simple, single-syllable words, and short sentences. You’ll find this simplicity makes your speech easier to digest and harder to forget.
4. Don’t just say it, feel it!
An audience will know if you don’t believe in or care about what you’re saying.
Remember: if you don’t believe what you’re saying, why should your audience believe it?
If what you’re saying isn’t important to you, then how can you expect your audience to care about it?
Inject passion into your presentation. Bring energy and creativity into it. (You can learn more about how injecting passion into your work can change your life in my book, The Fred Factor.)
You can tell a story or be the story. When you tell, you communicate what happened. When you are the story, you re-experience what happened.
When you give a speech, your feelings will enliven your words and your description will become more vivid and memorable.
To learn some more keynote speaker tips, or how to grow as a leader, take a look at any of my wide collection of resources. For tips on how to center your life around your highest priorities, you can also consider reading my Extraordinary Living Journal – buy one, get one free!
If you enjoyed this post, here are three more articles you might also find interesting:
Do You Give Your Work Dignity?
Every Day is Game Day
Three Big Changes in Selling: Are You Up to the Challenge?