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Even if you’ve never spoken in public before, you can make sure your speech is a success. The key is to grab their attention and guide the audience to a place where they want to focus on your message. Sometimes they don’t really want to be there. It is your job as a speaker to change their minds.

After someone introduces you and you get up to speak, if you want to make some personal remarks or thank the event organizers publicly, keep it brief. It should only take a few seconds. You don’t want to lose your audience before you start.

Now you get to begin your speech. The beginning, or introduction of your speech, is the audience’s first impression of you. You want your speech to be interesting, and there are a few simple things you can do to assure yourself it is:

You need to grab their attention at the very start of your presentation. Open up with a story, a statistic, a question, or something else to grab their attention. Get people going and stirred up about what you have to say.

No one wants to listen to a speech that isn’t relevant. They need to know how this topic affects them. Let them know what you have to say is for them specifically. Make them think they have to hear what you have to say, because you’re talking about something relevant to their lives.

Who are you, and why should they listen? Establish yourself as someone who has experience and/or expertise in the area in which you’re speaking. If it is a new topic, something that says you’ve been researching the topic for a few weeks is better than nothing. This will let the audience give you authority to speak to them in their minds. It will open them up to what you have to say.

Let the audience know exactly what they can expect to learn from you. Be clear and direct. Tell them where you’re going in chronological order and stick with it. It will make your audience feel like you know what you’re doing and where you’re taking them. They’ll know what to expect and be ready for it.

Effective public speaking is all about communicating ideas and information that is your audience will feel is worthwhile. With effective public speaking it’s more about the ideas being conveyed. An audience wants interesting content that they can use and not about fancy phrasing.

We’ve all been in presentations that we wish we didn’t have to be in. Sometimes they bore us to tears and we spend an hour drawing pictures on a notepad. Sometimes it’s so interesting we get involved and forget to write notes. We don’t really need notes, because the presenter interested us enough to remember what they had to say. These are the kind we want to be in, and the kind you want to give. With a little work and a lot of enthusiasm, you can make your audience do more than have to listen—you can make them want to listen to you.


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