9 ways to improve your speaking skills

You know the standard presentation tips and tricks. You’re good; you can get by. Here’s how to take your delivery to the next level.

Over the past few years, I’ve spoken at a lot of events. Beyond just speaking, I am sharing the stage with many different types of speakers and speaking styles. It’s in the nuances that you learn how the masters do it.

If you’re just getting started with presenting to audiences or if you’re looking to up your game, here are some key points that will take you from being an everyday speaker to being a star that people want to see.

1. Limit the technology. All too often I see people with laptops, PowerPoint, DVDs, cued CDs, props and more. Kill it. You don’t need it. If you use slides that can augment what you’re saying, great, but you don’t need it and you should not rely on it. People are coming to learn from you. Know your content to the point that even if your slides don’t load or the video doesn’t play, it won’t matter.

Expecting the AV technician to get/know all of your cues and the intricacies of your presentation puts too much reliance on the technology (and on the AV guy). On top of that, asking from the stage for videos or music to play kills your story and flow. It’s like when an actor calls for a line. Also, having a lot of gear makes the organizers nervous (something could go wrong!) and can make the speaker seem high maintenance.

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