10 tips for public speakers

Preparation is crucial. That entails identifying your audience, proper rehearsal techniques and working out strong starts and finishes.

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Regardless of your audience size, setting the stage in your own mind is essential.

Follow these steps:

1. Affirm, pray, focus, ommm. Whether it’s a staff meeting or a concert performance you’re leading, a short pre-show ritual pulls your energy into your center. Before I take the stage I say this quickie prayer, “Help us shine.” That covers me, the audience and the world in one fell swoop.

2. Being prepared is an act of love and intelligence. Even if you can improvise with the best of them, you should do a complete run-through in advance and compile a written key points list of your talk. I like to do a verbal rehearsal the day before, and I do a key points list the morning of the event.

3. Know your audience. A co-presenter and I addressed a group of underprivileged single moms. My co-presenter talked about shopping at Tiffany and Saks. They turned on us. It was ugly. By contrast, at a presentation in Vancouver last year, Guy Kawasaki sported a Vancouver Canucks jersey, made some good jokes about the event organizers, and told personal stories that related to the organization’s mission.

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