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
- 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.
- 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.
- Don't say you're nervous. It's likely the audience doesn't notice and it will hurt your credibility.
- Speak with conviction. People will be compelled to listen if you show belief and enthusiasm.
- Maintain eye contact with your audience. This helps you to stay connected.
- Don't race through your speech. It's hard to listen to someone who speaks fast. Pause to add emphasis.
- 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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