I saw Mark Zuckerberg speak at a recent event, and even he looked a touch hesitant just before taking the podium. Public speaking is not easy — but it's certainly teachable. And it's also good for your business. So before you take the stage, read ...
Ensure your speech makes a
LinkedIn Influencer Betty Liu published this post
originally on LinkedIn.
A side benefit of becoming a well-known and successful
entrepreneur is that you suddenly get asked to speak at any and
You realize that there really is an event for everything â€” from
devotees of light bulbs to food science to birds. And
surprisingly, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who
Every entrepreneur gets asked to speak; not every entrepreneur
can speak well. I saw Mark Zuckerberg speak at a recent
event, and even he looked a touch hesitant just before taking the
podium. Public speaking is not easy â€” but it's certainly
teachable. And it's also good for your business.
So before you take the stage, read these four pointers. They will
ensure that your speech makes a splash.
Seriously, don't forget to smile. One speechwriter I know makes
sure to front-load his scripts with jokes â€” just to help his
client remember to smile and laugh. It's easy to be nervous and
in your head right before you take the mic â€” but if you're not
careful, your pensive face may come off as grumpy. Not a great
first impression. Your job right when you take the stage is to
connect with your audience. So when you walk onstage, be sure to
stand up straight, wave, and SMILE.
2. Get off script.
I used to rely heavily on scripts when speaking onstage. Now, I
ad lib my way through with the help of some notes jotted down.
Why is that? First and foremost: when speaking onstage, you want
to have a conversation with your audience â€” and you can't do that
if you're reading from a stack of papers.
Secondly, every single word you say has to be spoken with
conviction, and you can't do that by reading the words. Lastly,
getting off script allows you to come out from behind the podium
and walk around onstage, which is so much better than being
blocked by a big piece of wood.
Of course, in order to get off script, you have to have your
crucial talking points memorized. Thankfully, memory expert
Jim Kwik shared some of his best brain-boosting
tips in this Radiate video:
3. Know your audience.
After a while, you might find that you are speaking about the
same topic over and over again. You'll make the same points, tell
the same jokes, and share the same stories. That's OK â€” a lot of
people who speak publicly do the same thing. But just because
you're giving the same talk doesn't mean you're speaking to the
Take the time to learn who's attending the event. That way, you
can speak directly to them and their experiences. A group of
sales associates will react very differently to your talk than a
group of advertisers. Remember to keep their needs in mind and,
most importantly, respect them. Having the opportunity to speak
to an audience is a privilege, not a right.
4. Storytell, storytell, storytell.
Call it the caveman in all of us. We human beings have been
telling stories since the dawn of our species â€” first around a
campfire, then in books, and now in whatever format we desire.
Research shows that hearing stories triggers feel-good chemicals
in our brains, and that we even get stressed when we hear tense
parts in a story. Whatever is happening biologically, we know
that stories will make your speech memorable.
"That slide was the best slide ever," said no one ever. You're
far more likely to hear something like, "Wow, that story was
really interesting." Remember that if you want to make a big
impression, tell impressive stories. Stories happen every day â€”
tap into that inner caveman to bring them out.
With these tips in your public speaking toolkit, you'll knock
your next speaking engagement out of the park. Let me know how it
goes in the comments.
If you liked this article and want more content to help you
become a better manager and leader, join the Radiate community by
Betty Liu is an anchor on Bloomberg Television and
founder of Radiate, Inc, a media technology platform that unlocks
knowledge from the world's most successful people. An
award-winning business journalist, Liu regularly interviews
influential business, political and media leaders including
Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim, Elon Musk, Steve Schwarzman and many
others. Check out the Radiate podcast on iTunes and stay tuned
for more updates at www.radiateinc.com.
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