This is one of my top 10 books to have in your personal library. There is so much to learn from it, I recommend you just read it for yourself. Not only does it spell out how to be a confident and well spoken woman, each chapter spotlights ten powerful female leaders such as Maya Angelou and Hillary Clinton. In addition, there are inspiring examples of well-spoken women who have made a difference throughout history by speaking out while being true to themselves and to the power of their message.
The First Impression
Start as strongly as possible! Audience members draw a first impression of a speaker in a matter of seconds. The beginning of a presentation is the time to capture the audience’s attention, even imagination.
Make the opening a highlight by greeting the audience visually. When walking into a room, onto a stage, or up to a head table, a speaker is communicating even though no words are spoken. Don’t stare at feet or notes. Stand up straight with shoulders slightly back and arms loose. The head should be up and eyes focused on the audience. Use a strong smile to project confidence. President Barack Obama is a master of the visual greeting.
Greet the audience verbally with a quick hello (10 seconds or so), have something prepared such as: “Good morning, everyone. I’m delighted to have this opportunity to talk with you today.” This provides a moment to establish eye contact with the audience. Good, steady eye contact communicates confidence and allows the speaker to quickly develop a rapport with the listeners.
Checklist for the First Impression
- Greet the audience visually and verbally
- Make eye contact with the audience
- Stand up straight with shoulders back and a smile
- Say hello and introduce yourself
Top Ten Ways to Conquer Stage Fright
- Schedule plenty of time to write and practice the speech
- Know the audience and their interests
- Be very familiar with the speech text
- Tailor the speech to the audience
- Arrive early the day of the event
- Check the audio/video equipment beforehand
- Do relaxation exercises and deep breathing
- Meet & greet audience members before the speech
- Use the power of positive thinking
- Videotape the performance for later review
Effective Use of PowerPoint
1. Use a title slide to begin.
2. Don’t darken the room completely since some light will be needed for note taking and contact with the audience.
3. Never use paragraphs of information.
4. Use bullets to emphasize key points.
5. No more than five lines of text with four words per line.
6. Use compelling photographs and illustrations.
7. Charts and graphs should be large enough to see from the back.
8. Avoid yellow, red, and green text.
9. Keep the slides moving at a good pace.
10. Double-check the slide order prior to the presentation.
11. Set up on-site allowing plenty of time to test the equipment, ideally with an IT expert on hand.
12. Be ready with a hard copy of the slides should the projection fail.
- Request a lavalier microphone this is the type that attaches to the jacket label or shirt collar. Position it about three inches below the collarbone.
- When the microphone is attached to a lectern, it should be positioned just below the mouth, about six inches away. If the previous speaker was taller or shorter, adjust it immediately. Nothing looks sillier than hunching over or standing on tiptoe to try to reach it.
- Test the system before speaking. If possible, do the test before the program begins.
- Never blow into the microphone or tap on it. To test whether or not it is working properly, just talk into it normally.
- Speak in a normal voice range. Let the sound system do the broadcasting.
- In a large group, repeat questions from the audience so everyone can hear what was asked.
- Avoid the ‘death grip’ — knuckles turned white from clutching the edge.
- Don’t lean on the lectern, rest hands quietly on top.
- Don’t hide behind it by slouching. It becomes a barrier blocking the ability to connect with the audience.
- Don’t stare down at notes. Project over the top, eyes on the audience. The lectern is there to hold the notes and the microphone, not the speaker.
- Don’t overuse the pointer
- Use it to focus attention on a specific area of the slide
- Don’t use the “bouncing ball” technique of pointing to every word or “lassoing” words by circling them round and round
- Best used for charts and graphs