Cuclis PR
PR Tip of the Month

Volume 4, No. 9
March 2, 2009

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Seven Tips to Engage the Audience When Beginning Your Speech

When you give a speech, the audience will judge you in the first 30 seconds. PR Tip of the Month last month provided seven tips to start your speech off right before you utter a word. This issue provides seven tips for engaging your audience once you start talking.

Before we get to those tips, I have one other: practice. The most important thing you can do to give an effective speech is practice.

The First 30 Seconds of Your Speech

  1. Open with a personal example or story. It will set the tone for your speech. The story should match your message and support your point.
  2. Don't read from notes. You want to sound conversational, which you can't do if you're reading. It's O.K. to glance at your notes.
  3. Don't say you're nervous. It's likely the audience doesn't notice and it will hurt your credibility.
  4. Speak with conviction. People will be compelled to listen if you show belief and enthusiasm.
  5. Maintain eye contact with your audience. This helps you to stay connected.
  6. Don't race through your speech. It's hard to listen to someone who speaks fast. Pause to add emphasis.
  7. Use hand gestures and facial expressions. This provides emphasis and prevents you from being stiff. However, don't overdo gesturing or you'll look like you're talking with your hands.

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