If you have ever been asked to speak at a fashion event or conference, then you know that a lot goes in to preparing for it. Whether you will be talking to fifty people or five hundred, you will definitely want to put your best foot forward.
Just listen to what this speaker has to say about it: “A lot of preparation goes into talking to a crowd at an event. Many people do not realize that there are many hours that will be invested to make sure that the organizers audience is kept engaged and entertained. Otherwise, your event will look like a failure and that pressure lies on the guest speaker.”
Here are five things you should consider when you are asked to present:
- Emphasize Your Main Point
A speech should always have a main point that you want 100% of the audience to understand and remember long after. Unfortunately, most of what is heard during a speech is forgotten. But what people remember is what is repeated most often with repetition. To achieve this, state your most important point at the beginning, middle, and end. It will serve as the theme for your entire speech and a reminder for everyone to remember that key message. You can even point out it’s importance by saying, “The one thing I want you all to remember is this…”
- Hand Gestures
Avoid putting your hands in your pocket. It makes you appear unengaged with the audience. It’s best to keep your hands at your side during your speech and use them to emphasize important points. Experiment with your gestures. If you’re talking about a sunrise, raise your hand as if it’s the sun going up. If you’re describing somebody that fell on her face, clap your hands for added impact. If you’re making a number of points, let’s say three, a good visual is to use your thumb, index finger, and finally middle finger for the audience to follow along with.
- Take Your Time
If you’re a slow speaker, are feeling nervous, or flustered, don’t worry about it. Simply take your time to make your presentation. The faster you speak, the more difficult it is for people to follow along. A slow and steady pace is good as long as you are making progress, leading the audience through your message.
- Vocal Projection
Unless a microphone is available, the best way to be heard by everyone is to speak loudly enough so that the farthest person sitting at the back can hear you. It also helps to glance at the back row from time to time as a reminder. Avoid asking if people in the back if they can hear you because they won’t respond if they can’t hear you.
- Engage the Audience
Instead of simply talking about your subject, you can connect with people much more by using techniques to change their energy levels and break up the monotony. The beauty of speaking is that it allows for audience participation. Ask random people questions to keep people on their toes and engage their minds. Bring someone onto the stage to participate in a fun activity or a question & answer segment. Audience members love seeing their peers having fun on stage.
So when you’re on stage, remember to drive home your core message by repeating it often enough. Apply gestures with your hands for added impact, take your time because it’s not a race, and engage the audience with questions so they become participants instead of spectators.