1. End on time. So simple, but so hard for so many speakers I know.
2. Don’t ask if people can hear you. They can. And if they can’t, the sound guys will turn up your microphone. This is incredibly distractive.
3. Avoid open ended questions with your audience. Those can be incredibly awkward if no one responds. For example, “are you fired up?” If no one answers, or even one person, you’re off to an awkward start!
4. Always thank your host or sponsor. It creates connection, and also shows that you are actually aware enough to know who’s behind the event or gathering you’re part of.
5. Make room for questions. Not always an option, but anytime you can create a conversation with those you are speaking to, that’s a good thing.
6. Don’t read your slides. I can read your slide. You don’t need to.
7. Never throw the production or front of house or audio team under the bus. This is a cardinal rule.
8. Tell stories. Be personable. Stories create connection and vulnerability. Stories fill in the gap between you as the expert and everyone else as the wanna bee’s.
9. Be authentic. If you aren’t funny, don’t try to be. Be real and who you truly are. Approachability is crucial.
10. Always have a call to action. Leave those in attendance with something to go work on. The point is to Change and Do Something!
11. Look people in the eye. Whether it’s 10 people or 10,000 people, eye contact is imperative.
12. Be passionate. Your level of passion will give permission to the audience to lean in with you. Move towards Heart and soul, and emotional intelligence. Leave it all on the field! Make sure you create emotional hooks, and take people on a roller coaster instead of a train when it comes to passion level. Trains are good for sleeping on….!