teacher-309403_1280I’ve heard it said that at a funeral, most people would rather be in the casket then giving the eulogy. Speaking can be a frightening thing for most people, but once you conquer that fear, the world can open up for you. Whether it’s a short speech during a monthly meeting at work or a presentation that promotes your business, speaking is a great way to get noticed and move forward with your goals. Here are a few tips that will help you present like a professional:

1. Get focused. Take 5-10 minutes to do some deep breathing or meditation before your speech. Set your intention. What do you want people to get from this speech? Visualize the outcome. What do you want people to say to you when the speech is finished? Get a clear picture of the outcome in your mind.

2. Have a Plan. Never try to “wing” a speech. Preparing your presentation ahead of time will increase your chances for success. Know what you are going to say and the points that you will get across – have them written down for reference. Planning allows you to edit the presentation so that your only best material is being offered.

3. Be Passionate and Enthusiastic. If you’re speaking about something you love, then the audience will love it with you. Speak right from your heart, with passion. Gage your energy level throughout the presentation and try to keep the energy higher at the beginning, middle and end of the speech. It should flow like a roller coaster.

4. Engage your audience. Infuse the room with energy. Use a wireless microphone and stand where people can see your entire body. Walk around, make eye contact, interact with people one-on-one, ask compelling questions and have the audience shout out the answers. Try new things and notice the energy in the room change. If you are relaxed and having fun, then they will feel it and follow you.

5. Sell with stories. Using stories to illustrate your key points is a great way to bring a message home. The more relatable to the audience, the better. Using humor in your stories is always a good idea if it feels comfortable to you.

6. Know your audience. The best speakers make their presentation relate directly to the people in the audience. If you are speaking to a room full of lawyers, then adjust your stories so that they can relate. When planning your presentation, continually ask yourself, “How is this going to benefit them?”

7. Timing is Everything. Practice your presentation at least twice from beginning to end to make sure that you are staying within your allotted time. When you speak from the heart, know your stuff, and have fun, your audience will receive your information openly. A little planning goes a long way toward giving a knock ’em dead speech!