5 secrets of strong, engaging speakers

Live presentations are hotbeds of mind-numbing bad habits. Here’s how to distinguish yourself from the humdrum herd and leave your audience clamoring for more.

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There are many positive ways to wow your audience.

There are also certain taboos to shun if you want to give an enchanting presentation. Below are five bits of advice to avoid common mistakes:

1. Don’t open with ‘thank you.’

There’s nothing wrong with thanking the organization that invited you to speak, the sponsor of the event, the person who introduced you and other dignitaries in your audience. Just don’t lead with the pleasantries and formalities. They are important, but they are a commonplace and lackluster way to open a speech.

Instead, open with a startling fact, a thought-provoking quotation, an interesting anecdote or a relevant joke. Then, take care of the housekeeping. Grabbing the attention of your listeners before you show your gratitude will help you stand out among speakers.

2. Don’t stand behind the lectern.

It takes confidence and thorough preparation to move out from behind the lectern, but the rewards are great. You’ll come across as dynamic and poised, harkening to TED-style presenters who speak on stage without a lectern.

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