With the ever increasing opportunities and expectations to speak in public, acing a TED talk is a must have skill for a well intentioned thought leader. Not only does it mandate a sharing of one’s experiences and nuggets of wisdom, but also in equal measure, if not in more, making the talk a participative, engaged platform for the listener.
As an avid public speaker, Business English trainer for many years now, here’s what I make of this business of speaking well and meaningfully. Add your tips too.
Think it Through
You’ve been asked to take centre stage at a conclave, talk or a conference. Congratulations…now’s when the struggle begins. After honing in on a topic, go back to the drawing board and make a mental map of what is it that you wish the audience to take away with them. Yes, that’s the start point of any good talk. Map also the structure and the content of course! Keeping the macro picture in mind will help you weed out the fog surrounding the topic.
Great idea to check the venue out, pin your location, walking space, projectors and all tech gadgets that would be mandated for your talk. Projecting future snags and trouble shooting them in your mind would help too. Getting a sense of the arena will also assist in getting to the pulse of the audience dynamic on the main day. Goes without saying that, great to have the logistics at home also in order on the day of the talk!
Connect, Connect, Connect
Yes, do mind the Ps and Qs of delivering a talk, as ‘correct’ matters too! However, don’t get swayed by the lexical and grammatical scaffolding of our utterances. Focus also on the connect with audience. Are they emotionally or cognitively also involved in your speech? Pepper it with live instances, experiences, personal anecdotes to come alive! Facts and figures are great but lack a soul that only a human touch may add. No?
Employing a variety of presentation tools to appeal to varied listening and learning styles is a definite plus. Keeping a mix of long and short sentences, being to the point, sticking to the time leaving some time for a Q&A, a positive body language and correct throw, peak and crests in the voice, will also help. Practising is the key but spontaneity and thinking on your feet at the time of the delivery cannot be replaced. Avoiding long winded arguments and worse still, questions in the garb of comments is a must have, in my opinion!
At the end of the day, enjoying what you do will convey the passion through your voice to the audience- and that makes a success of a talk. So Good luck!
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