Anxious before a big talk? Pacing around backstage nervous you'll forget your words? No clue how the audience will receive you? I totally get it! With 50ish events per year under my belt, believe it or not, I have the same concerns and fears.
Here are my top speaking tips and I genuinely hope it helps you too. Read it and hit me with your top tips below
Impact 2018 was the most recent stage I was on. This future focused event attracted over 6,000 attendees, across 2 days with its stunning backdrop of Krakow, Poland and and it's phenomenal 250 speaker line up. Plus I had a curve ball - I wasn't just managing the main stage but a 2nd startup stage too (2 production teams, 2 audio teams, 2 tech teams, 2 sets of mics, 2 sets of names...you get it)
This isn't rocket science, but this is what I practice.
TIP #1 - BODY LANGUAGE
How important is body language on stage? Extremely! So much of communication has absolutely nothing to do with what you are actually saying. To dominate a stage and capture the attention of a large audience, it is vital that your body language is positive;
- Stand Tall - own the stage
- Head Up - engage your audience
- Chest Out - exude confidence
- Hands Out - be welcoming
TIP #2 - STAGE PRESENCE
First impressions matter.
Your entrance on stage sets the tone for the rest of your talk even before you've said a single word. The audience feeds off the energy you provide as you walk out. It is your stage, own it. Make sure to face the audience all of them (even the people hiding in the back rows). Standing central is important, but don't be afraid to walk around.
I recently put together a vlog of the headliner of Impact 2018, the world's most advanced robot Sophia (https://youtu.be/jqaatz1Hv3U). She gets a pass on this tip only because she is a robot :)
TIP #3 - AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT
How many times have you lost interest in a speaker at an event?
The reason countless speakers lose their audience is because they don't effectively engage them. Simple tricks like asking questions and collective voting are great methods to hold audience attention. If you sense low energy in the room, get the blood flowing - make them stand, move around a little, have some fun with them!
Picture this - the Impact crowd at 7pm after 9 consecutive hours of panels, keynotes and pitches... As you can imagine the energy was pretty low. What did I do? I made them dance!
The crowd was reluctant at first, but who doesn't love dancing! Check the vlog at 03:18 to see them dance! (https://youtu.be/jqaatz1Hv3U)
A big thank you to Impact 2018 for going the extra mile to invite me to host their largest event yet. Hope these tips are helpful and feel free to share yours below.
If you want more, watch the full vlog!