In this last post in this three part series, I wanted to share the last bits of information that I gained from my journey in SpeekUp. So without further a due, here they are:
Relax & Enjoy
One thing that I keep on doing a lot is becoming very serious in my talks. I tend to get so focused on delivering the speech that I forget to smile and have fun. This is something that I need to continue practicing and working at. The crowd can feel this tension and seriousness, so relax and enjoy it and everyone will have a good time.
Dial Up the Excitement
Be animated! Be loud! Be excited! People have chosen to spend their time watching you. Make it educational and fun at the same time. For me, this is something that doesn't come naturally so I had to practice this a bit, but what I can say that after a few times of doing it, it does become easier.
Move with Purpose
Don't just aimlessly walk up and down the stage. This makes the audience tired, so move with purpose and intention. If you are talking about a timeline, move from the one side of the stage to the other, mentally mapping out the stage as a timeline. Also, match your words with actions, so for example, if you say "Let's take a step back…", literally take a step back on stage.
Another tip for this is to ask a question on one side of the stage, let it sit there with the audience while you walk to the other side, and then answer it. It's like an elegant choreography.
A nice little tip that we got was that if you see that you are going to finish you talk earlier than expected, open up the floor to the audience and let them ask some questions. This adds some additional "padding" to your talk to fill he allotted time. One other nugget is that when you get a question, repeat it back to them to make sure that you heard it correctly.
Watch the Time
Related to the tip above, is that you need to watch your time. Never go over the allocated time as this puts additional stress on the next speaker as they need to get ready. You also risk being kicked off if you do go over. There are many timer apps that you can get out there to help you with this. One thing to be wary of is if you do open up the floor to questions, make sure that the audience doesn't cause you to go over time, especially if someone rambles on and on with a long-winded question.
Impactful Punch Line
You want to leave your audience inspired! You want them to feel motivated so that they can try what you have just said to them. You can do this by leaving them with an impactful punch line. Don't let your story fall flat because of the conclusion. It's the last thing they will hear in the talk, so make it memorable!
The Last Slide
Related to the tip above, when you make that impactful punchline, make sure that you have a great slide to accompany it. It not only reinforces the message, but makes for a great photo ;)
Making people laugh puts them at ease, so you want to try to do this early on so that they can relax and enjoy the talk. It may be hard to do this if it doesn't come naturally, but it is definitely worth doing.
Overall, it was a long, hard but very rewarding experience and I would just like to give out a big thanks to Len Webel for facilitating the course. Your feedback was invaluable and really insightful.
Until next time...keep learning!