A good speaker derives the speaking ability from being a good reader. Speaking at events is a great way to enhance your status as an outstanding student, expert and generate PR for your business. However, becoming a great speaker is an art, not a science. The good news is that with some tips and some practice, you can leave a lasting impression that you will want people to remember.

Here are some easy ways that you can become a better speaker.

  1. Memorize concepts, not content.

You may think that the best way to give a flawless speech is to memorize the content word-for-word.  But trying that can create a lot of problems for speakers. Memorization not only lends itself to sounding over-rehearsed (aka not natural), but also, if your mind goes blank at any point during the presentation, you will lose your place and potentially create an awkward silence. Or worse, start to panic.

Instead of memorizing the content, focus on the concepts. Do this by creating bullet points of the content, stories, data and key takeaways that you want to get across in each part of your presentation. Then, speak naturally about them. If you remember all of those key points, great, but if you forget some, no sweat — you can move on to another point.

Having a looser structure also gives you the flexibility to revise stories, takeaways and information during each speech based on the audience make-up and response. Plus, as an extra bonus, you will deliver a more natural sounding, engaging presentation.

  1. Chat up audience members before your presentation.

Meeting with the people you are going to be speaking to before you give your speech has several benefits. First, it warms them up to you. Second, it lets you gauge their sense of humor, which is particularly critical if you are a speaker that tends to let a curse word fly or uses bold and provocative stories or language. Finally, you can glean insights to incorporate into your presentation.

It’s incredibly effective to use audience members as examples or transitions in a speech because it creates intimacy with the audience and more engagement.

  1. Enhance your visuals and audio.

Most speakers know not to read directly from slides (and if you didn’t before, you do now). If you do use slides during your presentation, use them in an unexpected way. Include a short, fun video or use some photos with humor.

At least evaluate having your presentation slides created professionally. These tactics can take your entire presentation up a level.

  1. Flip your mindset to ease your nerves.

Even the most seasoned speakers can get nervous prior to presenting. The most effective way to take the pressure off of you is to change your mindset and think about your audience rather than yourself or the speech. Remember that you are there to provide them with valuable information and if the audience members leave with one or two new items, reminders or a new perspective, you have made it worth their while. Focusing on being helpful or in service of the audience, instead of on yourself, can help you to relax.

  1. Get interactive. 

You can take audience participation to another level. During presentations, you can have your audience repeat key messages back to you. This keeps the audience involved, but even more brilliantly, it gives them devices to remember the material. In the middle of the speech you can ask audience members to throw out examples of ideas that you presented.

As you plan your speech, think about where you can involve the audience and what devices you can use to involve them in the presentation so that you are talking with them, not just to them

Reference: The Entrepreneur

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