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Make that keynote address your own

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Haven’t addressed a large group in a while and you’re a little rusty? Here’s our take on calming the jitters and having a good time:
  • Prepare. Put in an hour of rehearsal before every talk, according to Toastmasters International. A few leaders seem to be “naturals” in front of a microphone. Naturally, they practiced.

  • Relax first. Stretch, listen to tunes, whatever it takes.

  • Work the room beforehand. It might give you a custom-tailored idea for the beginning of your speech. You also could visit the room an hour early to work up a feel for the location.

  • Get people’s attention with a startling historical fact or gripping piece of news (all relevant to your topic, of course). Don’t begin by thanking a bunch of people, the very thing you hate about the Oscars.

  • Make it your own style. It’s truer and more compelling than copying somebody else’s.

  • Use your own stories. A couple of years ago, we heard a speech featuring an apocryphal story about a boy and his teacher: an urban legend, perhaps? It was distracting and reduced our trust in the speaker.

  • Bring passion. Aside from the content itself, your passion is the most important ingredient. If you care, they will.
—Adapted from “Top public speaking don’ts,” Jennifer Nycz-Conner, Washington Business Journal.

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