When it comes to public speaking advice, it’s right to focus on the big things: breathing control, body language, speechwriting skills. These fundamentals are necessary to be a success – and, though they can be mastered more easily than many think, they obviously take a little work.
It’s also true, that for speakers it is very often the little things that can make or break a speech, a few tiny details can lift an average presentation and turn it into a truly memorable one.
These “little things” are in reality anything but. Think of these tips as the “low-hanging fruit” of public speaking – though easy to pick, they’re extra juicy!
1. Watch Other Speakers
This is really easy to do with YouTube and an easy win for your speaking. Even the speakers you don’t enjoy will teach you something: what was wrong with their style from your perspective? Why do you prefer others?
2. Help People Find You
Once you’re in the hall, or Zoom room, don’t skip over the introductions. Let people know who you are and at the end make sure they know how they can contact you later. Make connections is what speaking is all about.
3. Give the Audience a Take-Home
While we’re on the topic of the audience, don’t forget to give them something to take home. This might be physical – a hand-out of your key points, for example, or a free goody bag.
Whatever it is, make sure you also give them a clear call to action, with a timescale. You want them to take a piece of your speech with you when they leave. This is another very simple thing to include and achieve – but it can have a huge impact on the “afterlife” of your carefully crafted presentation.
4. Check Your Timing
Craft brings us to the fourth and final “simple thing” I’d advise every speaker to tick off: timing. Always check how long it takes to actually speak out loud what you have written. Keep things short and concise.
Time yourself on several occasions; edit ruthlessly. It is always better to under run than be over time. Making sure you fill but do not exceed your slot is a very basic thing for a speaker to do – but it works wonders both in terms of building a powerful speech and winning over your listeners.
All four of these “little things” have big impact. By learning from others, making connections, giving clear calls to action and checking your timing, you’ll create a context in which your speech can shine. The little things really do make a big difference.