Have you ever sat in an audience and hoped the presenter would fail? Of course you haven’t. As a speaker, most members of an audience want you to succeed. They look forward to being inspired, educated or influenced. A speaker should consider the audience as a friend and not the enemy.
As a professional you have some thing of value to say. Your being in front of the room is no accident. The audience is looking forward to what you have to communicate. It is important that you spend the time needed in preparation so you give the audience what they came for.
Most audiences generally do not noticed when a speaker is nervous. For many inexperienced speakers the severity of their nervousness is more of an issue that resides in their own mind. If an audience does notice your nervousness, the value of the content they are receiving is what they are most interested in acquiring. Keep in mind that sincerity trumps style every time. As long as you give solid information, much will be overlooked. Realizing this, there may not be any reason to apologize for your nervousness. When you apologize you are bringing the audience attention where it need not be. Practice not to offer an apology when nervous.
The great orator, Winston Churchill, would purposely add a bit of nervousness and mistakes to appear more ordinary.
The audience is your friend. Treat them as such.
One great idea for all speakers is to connect their conclusion back to the opening of their speech. One technique is the use of a callback. In comedy, a callback is used extensively. Every joke in comedy consists of a set-up line followed by the punchline. If it is a strong punchline, that line can be used throughout the comedic routine without using any set-up line. Also if you are known by that callback: then the person who introduces you can also use the callback. Two great example of a callback are Rodney Dangerfield’s line, “I get no respect” and his other great line, “I can’t take it no more.”
See the following YouTube link to watch his callback in action;
If in your opening you have a phrase or a single word that resonates with your audience: then this can be your callback. The key to using a callback is building strong set-up lines. Your set up lines must be concise, compact and have to be memorable. Once these lines are said then your callback can be used throughout your speech. callback act as thread tying your speech together. Your callback can also be placed on any of your marketing material or brochures. The key point to remember when using a callback is not to overuse it. Using your callback too many times diminishes its effectiveness. Also remember that sometimes you may get a callback that comes unexpectedly during your speech. This is a great time to use it. You can also use this new callback later in your speeches. As a speaker you can develop a different callback depending on your speech content and intended audiences.
The power of the group!
If you are a professional speaker, an aspiring professional speaker or simply a speaking professional, there are 2 organizations that you should join. One group deals with the business of speaking and the other deals with the practice of speaking. Now I know that the speaking professional, someone who speaks for their profession or business but does not receive compensation for that speaking event, will say that they don’t mind joining an organization to become a better speaker but why join an organization that deals with the business of speaking. The answer is simple. One day you as a speaking professional might want to monetize your content. If you may want to make money from your content, you do fall into the category of a professional speaker.
The first association you need to join is the National Speakers Association, http://www.nsaspeaker.org/ . They are a national group with local chapters. Here in Georgia I am a member of Georgia chapter of National Speakers association, http://www.nsageorgia.org/. This is the place where you form business relationships, personal friendships and acquire the knowledge concerning the business of speaking. Every dollar you spend on dues you will reap many times more in what you receive back. It is the best bang for your dollar you can hope for.
The second association deals with the practice of speaking. You do mini-speeches in front of small groups. Learn the art of evaluations. Practice new ideas and receive feedback on the these ideas. All this for the price of a weekly small cup of coffee. This organization has served hundreds of thousands of individuals who want to improve their speaking and leadership abilities for close to 100 hundred years. This association is Toastmasters International, http://www.toastmasters.org/ , and you may find a meeting close to you.
If you are truly interested in becoming a better speaker than you must join these two groups!