Whether you’ve been asked to speak at an upcoming business meeting or special event, getting your first public speaking gig is both exciting and nerve-wracking. You’re thrilled for the opportunity but also worried about crafting the perfect speech and delivering it effortlessly. If you’re having trouble deciding where to begin, follow this advice from Lawrence Mitchell for nailing your first public speaking gig.
1. Understand the audience and circumstances
Before you can choose a topic and create your speech, you need to develop a thorough understanding of your audience, as well as the event where you’ll be presenting. The nature of the audience and the event will help determine the subject matter. Also think about why you were asked to present at the certain event. Were you asked to speak to college freshman about fiscal responsibility? Or, were you tasked with motivating employees to help them meet their sales goals? You will need to tailor your speech to suit the audience and circumstances, which is why understanding them is such an essential first step.
2. Choose a topic you’re passionate and knowledgeable about
In some cases, speakers are given a topic to discuss, while in others they’re not. If you were asked to speak at an event about a given topic, chances are you have great experience with that topic. If you’re able to choose your own topic, go with something you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. Your audience will be able to tell if you’re speaking about something that doesn’t interest you or that you know little about.
3. Practice your delivery
One mistake many first-time speakers make is not practicing the delivery of their speech and instead focusing on memorizing the content. While you want to be well acquainted with the message and key points you will be presenting, you need to treat your delivery with equal importance. Your delivery is what will make or break your presentation. If you have a poor delivery, your message will not resonate with the audience, and your listeners will be disengaged.
To practice your delivery, do a dress rehearsal. Wear the outfit you will be wearing the day of, and practice in the room where you will be presenting, if possible. This will help you get a feel for the space and what it will be like on the special day. Another good tactic is to record yourself. By recording yourself, you can look back at your pitch, facial expressions, gestures and body movements and then work on perfecting your skills.
These are a few valuable tips to help you nail your first public speaking gig. For more public speaking tips from Lawrence Mitchell, visit www.lawrencemitchellblog.wordpress.com.