What makes someone a memorable public speaker? When you think about memorable people, what words come to mind? Today we’ll spend some time talking about how to make a lasting impression on your audience.
The first impression you have on someone is usually visual. Who do they see when you take the stage? Are you confident, polished, and professional? Don’t forget, you can also be remembered for making a negative impression!
Let’s look at how to get that first impression right.
Dress for Success: A friend of mine told me that she grew up in a poor family. She said that regardless of how little they had, they were always dressed in clean clothes and that her mother kept a clean house. They were proud of what they did have and all of the children were taught to take good care of their belongings.
Do your best to dress appropriately for the occasion and always be neat and clean. This bit of attention to detail will add to your self-confidence and is one less thing to worry about when you make your presentation.
Make an Entrance: People are drawn to positivity and confidence. Make your walk to the podium memorable with a smile and a confident stride.
Your first few words are a big part of the initial impression your audience has of you and they will encourage them to stay focused on your message.
Start with a sincere welcome and hello and consider telling the first part of a story that will weave its way through your message.
Less is More: Don’t try to memorize your speech. You’ll be thrown off if you forget a line and have a harder time recovering!
Practice is important, but try to remember the three key points you want to make between your opening and closing. You can speak off the cuff most of the time as long as you know your topic well and use those main points as scaffolding around which you’ll build your remarks.
Don’t Plant Your Feet in One Place: An important way to keep your audience’s attention is to move around while you speak. Motion keeps people’s eyes active and their mind alert and focused on your message.
Be sure you are moving with intention and not just pacing out of nervousness. It can help to think of your movements as a distinct part of your key points by moving to a new point on the stage each time you make a new point.
This is my number one tip on my recent Top Ten List. Let your enthusiasm for your topic show. If you are speaking about something important to you personally, the audience will pick up on that and be more easily persuaded to buy in to your message.
Use gestures, facial expressions, and movement, as well as changes in your pitch and tone to show how you feel as you speak.