At some point, most salespeople find themselves giving a speech to a room full of people. This might provoke elementary school flashbacks or even outright terror in a few, as delivering a speech in front of a crowd is significantly more stressful than speaking with a buyer one-on-one. However, with some practice and smart planning, delivering a speech can be a piece of cake.
If you would like to become a better speaker, it helps to learn how professionals do it, such as corporate keynote speakers. Here are proven techniques used by many pros, including our keynote speakers at ASHER.
Know Your Audience
Corporate keynote speakers worth their salt don’t just show up at a gig and start yapping. They do their research beforehand to understand who will be receiving their message.
Even if you work off a PowerPoint or a memorized script which you use dozens of times, it pays to research your audience every time. It will help build rapport with each particular crowd and therefore allow you to impinge far more effectively. Ask these questions:
- Why are they at this meeting or conference?
- What are they expecting to learn here?
- What are the biggest issues they face as a group/industry, so you can reference them or even offer some solutions?
Tie the main theme or message into your presentation
The best corporate keynote speakers figure out a way to incorporate the main theme of a conference or meeting into their speech. Meeting planners and executives love this, because it helps deliver their messaging and increase buy-in from their employees.
Even if your speech is for a handful of people and you are not pursuing public speaking as a profession, ask the organizer what they are most trying to get across to their attendees. Then tweak your presentation to include that somewhere, preferably at the beginning or end of your speech.
Tell a story
Corporate keynote speakers know there is nothing which captures the attention of an audience like a good story.
Now, you don’t have to be Stephen King or J.K. Rowling to get up there. All you have to do is find a scenario which is relatable to your audience and keep it rather simple. Case studies and personal anecdotes of situations you have witnessed or obstacles overcome are great starting points.
The top corporate keynote speakers in America have a special skill: they can deliver the same presentation flawlessly over and over again, yet make it seem as if they are saying it for the first time — each time they deliver it. Their speeches don’t appear to be canned even though, to a large degree, they are (with the personalization added per the above points).
What’s the secret? They practice for hours and hours. While you might not have to go to extreme lengths if you are delivering a short or informal speech, even a little time devoted to rehearsing goes a long way towards reducing nerves. It also surfaces weak points and helps you self-edit.
How you rehearse is up to you and your preferred method of learning. Some people say their speech aloud in front of a mirror to tweak their body language. Some prefer to rehearse while pacing, imagining the audience in front of them. Still others sit at a desk and record their speech into a phone or laptop for playback later.
Use the frequency of three
An old rule of thumb in advertising is that an audience must hear your message at least three times before they decide to buy. Since corporate keynote speakers are trying to get attendees to “buy” their message, they can adopt this principle by using the old adage:
Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them (again, with some impact to aid retention).
Expressed another way, introduce the main concepts in bullet points, go into details, and then wrap up with a summary again.
You can use this method for each specific concept within the presentation as well. State the concept or interesting fact, provide an example of its use in real life, and then restate it in some way.
Perfect your body language
Finally, all the best current corporate keynote speakers, Tony Robbins, Simon Sinek, and Dan Pink, understand that how you say something is as important as what you say. And body language forms a major part of your message.
Here are some tips:
- Don’t hang arms down by side, place them behind your back, or put them in your pocket. Instead, try keep your hands above the waist and out to the sides where appropriate, palms up.
- Eyebrows should be raised and inviting, rather than furrowed.
- Avoid staying fixed behind a podium unless you are speaking at a press conference. It’s boring.
- Smile. Often.
For more on this topic, watch this excellent TED Talk from body language expert Mark Bowden.
I hope these tips help you deliver a great speech. If you would like formal training or coaching before your next engagement or would like to hire one of ASHER corporate keynote speakers for your event, please drop us a line.