No stream of consciousness.

You can’t just say any old thing when it’s your turn to speak – not if you want to be thought of as credible and get taken seriously.

This makes me think of a woman that spoke at a women’s business networking event that I attended.  She had 25 minutes to speak. While she has a rather compelling personal story, (I happen to know her personally) she didn’t tell it well and just rambled all over the place never making, or getting to, any point.  She also didn’t connect her story in any way to her business. It was a real missed opportunity.

Instead of leaving the audience empowered, motivated or inspired, she left them feeling somewhat sorry for her and hoping they would never have to deal with the personal health issue she shared about.

When you get an opportunity to speak before a group, consider it an honor. The host has trusted you to show up professionally before their group and expects you to deliver something relevant to the audience that will make some kind of positive difference for them.  How you show up is a reflection on the host. Hosts don’t always vet you very thoroughly, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take it seriously. It’s your job as the speaker to make them look good in front of their group.

Every opportunity to get in front of an audience on behalf of your business is a golden one.  Public speaking is the best way for you to get seen, heard and known as a expert in your industry. Every time you get the chance to show up in front of an audience, you want to make the most of it.

Here are some tips to have it go well:

1. Be prepared with the 3 P’s.  Practice, practice, practice.  Practice in front of anyone you can get to listen, as often as you can – at least 10 times.

2. Record yourself and time it. You want to make sure that you say what you have to say and honor the time you’ve been given.  Don’t time it to the second. Give yourself some wiggle room to possibly say something you didn’t plan to say. Bonus points for ending a few minutes early.

3. Share something brief and personal about how you got to be the person standing before them. People love to hear your story.

4. Succinctly let them know why you are an expert in what you are talking about.  This sets up an expectation of how and why they should listen to you.

5. If you are going to offer them something at the end of your talk such as a free call, giveaway, bonus or anything else – say so early on in your talk so that they don’t feel pounced on at the end.  Before you get into the meat of your talk, mention that if they’d like to know more or get more you will tell them how at the end of your talk.

6. Have a prepared introduction and make sure that the person who will be doing it doesn’t have any questions and knows how to pronounce all the names and words.  I’ve seen many people introduce a speaker in a way that makes me think they are looking at the written introduction for the first time when they are actually introducing the speaker, which doesn’t make the speaker look as good as they could, which is their job. You can bullet point it out for them in a larger font to make it easy for them to glance and read.  

Be sure to get to the point!