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Almost one hundred percent of the entrepreneurs I coach to become best selling authors also want to be speakers. That’s why it’s important to know how to prepare for a speech and have maximum effectiveness when the opportunity comes. There are some obvious goals to getting on stages from a business standpoint such as growing your reach. The great thing is that because you’ve already been selected to be on stage, you are already seen as an expert.
From the audience’s standpoint, there has to be a reason to listen. So when you’re creating your keynote, follow these seven steps to maximize your effectiveness.
I’m going to assume you know the story of why you do what you do and why you’re passionate about the topic you’re about to share. The big mistake I see often is spending 15 to 20 minutes of a one hour speech talking about it. You’ll lose your audience if you do this. Instead, be able to share your story in 3-6 minutes by sharing an instance rather than your whole life up until this moment. The most important part? Your big struggle, the vulnerability of that moment and the thoughts and feelings that you experienced.
Don’t make sharing your story a brag-fest. Gone are the days of sharing with an audience from a high mountain top of expertise and perfection where you almost don’t seem human. Share who you are in the world now but spend more time being WITH the audience by exposing your low points — show you’ve been in their shoes before. Then they’ll want you to also show them the way out.
It’s hard for your audience to remember more than three points. I mean, I usually can’t remember more than two items at the grocery store without writing them down. More is not better here — it’s not a brain dump. In fact, too much will be so overwhelming that your speech will be less effective. Make sure to illustrate your points with examples, case studies and your own experiences to make the teaching parts more interesting.
Depending on how much time you are allotted, you may be able to only share one point in depth while just mentioning the others. Don’t worry — it’s enough!
3. Create a Slideshow
I love an online app called Canva. There are a lot of aesthetically pleasing presentation templates there for just about anything from cooking to real estate to business. It also allows you to change the templates to your brand colors. Then you can easily download and export the slides you create there to Powerpoint, Keynote or a pdf.
I’m one who always wants to skip the slideshow. I feel confined and I tend to worry more about clicking (or I forget to click) to the next side. But here’s the thing, sixty-five percent of the population are visual learners. By simply putting together a slideshow, you’re allowing more of the audience to be engaged in your content. Otherwise, you might as well send those people to another room and not speak at all to them.
4. Collect their Emails
Growing an email list is the name of the game in business, regardless if you have a brick and mortar operation or if you have an online service business. Offer your audience something for free so that you can continue your relationship beyond your time on stage. One thing that most attendees like to have is a copy of your slides, so offering that may be an easy choice. Alternatively, you can offer them a freebie to download. Take a look at my freebie here.
5. Involve the Audience
Keeping the attention of your audience will make it a memorable experience for them. Plus, it helps them to internalize what you’re teaching. Create activities that they can do alone and with a partner so they can get to know each other better as well.
Most attendees wear name tags at events. If you’re able to see the name, mention them from time to time in your presentation. If you’ve been able to mingle prior to your speech, mentioning the names of the people you just met creates closeness with the crowd.
Look professional and be comfortable the day of your speech. Be prepared for a cold or hot room.
Make sure to also ask what color the background of your stage will be. Wear a color that will pop against the background or you have the potential of looking like a cheshire cat.
Be aware of your sweat patterns too. If you’re a sweat machine, wear something that won’t show your wet armpits. Additionally, if you’ve had a photoshoot or other well-seen online videos in a particular outfit, don’t wear it again. You want a variety of photos and videos that look like they were taken on different days.
7. Pitch without Pitching
Regardless if you’re allowed to pitch or not, you can pitch without pitching throughout your speech. This is called seeding your talk. What I mean is sharing examples of people in your program before they got your guidance (where they were, what they struggled with) and how using your tips helped them to get to ________. As you sprinkle these examples within your speech, I promise, people will remember and ask you later what program so-and-so was able to get those awesome benefits from. So don’t be afraid if you are told you can’t pitch from stage. You don’t need to directly pitch to get those clients from the audience.
Side note on Tedx talks: These talks are set up differently so you many not be able to implement all of the above.
If you loved this article, I’d love to hear what your top takeaways are. Comment below!
Vickie Gould is a book coach, content marketing strategist, best selling author, and speaker. She believes that everyone has a story to share and a journey orchestrated for their positive growth — and that those experiences should be written in a best selling book.
Vickie helps entrepreneurs to share their stories, self-publish and leverage their own business books, grow their following, create more impact and turn readers into clients through her Easy Writer Program, one-on-one coaching and her free Facebook Group, Write Your Biz Book.
Get her cheatsheet called 5 Secret Strategies to Write Your Book Quickly at: bit.ly/5secretstrategies.