Lest you think differently but when giving a speech, the first 15 seconds can be critical in terms of engaging your audience—or not.
Following are some helpful tips that will make people interested in what you have to say and less in checking their BlackBerry (believe it or not--you can steal away their attention from this ubiquituous device):
- Be mindful of your body language. Remember to keep yourself relaxed. Approach the podium in a warm, friendly manner. You're not going to the guillotine!
- Avoid banal bromides such as "it's so wonderful to be here." The audience has heard it before and frankly, it's patronizing and an insult to their intelligence. Just get down to the nitty gritty.
- Never apologize--NEVER!
- Tell a personal story--avoid anything culled from a generic business text. Please, make it relevant to the point you're trying to make. And yes, it can either be droll or serious. But modulate based on the subject matter of your speech and the tone you're trying to cultivate.
- Ask thoughtful, incisive questions
- Speak with authority and assertiveness