How to be a Great Speaker at a Live Event – Part One

What is a live event production without live presentations? And what is a worthwhile live event production without impactful and compelling live presentations?

It’s that moment when everyone sits down in their chairs, looks to the stage, scans the room for a presenter or speaker, hoping that the next 30 minutes or hour of their lives aren’t squandered by a bumbling speaker. An audience sits down wanting and hoping to be inspired – maybe to sell a particular product with more confidence, buy into the corporate strategy, or change the way people approach their particular business. And when you are put in the position as the deliverer of a sacred message – whether to a department meeting for 20 people, or a symposium for 1,000 – how do you avoid common pitfalls that plague so many live event presentations in the corporate environments?

Well, first of all, everyone, and we mean everyone, has the fear of public speaking. Some are just better at hiding the butterflies than others. At L37, we’re not experts at helping you mask your fear of public speaking – but we can help you tackle it before your next (or first) live presentation.

In a two-part series, we’ll highlight what to avoid and most importantly, what to master as you prepare to take the stage and inspire the crowd at your upcoming live event. You owe it to your audience to deliver an engaging message. And we can help you nail it.

First things first: practice, practice, practice. Like any skill in life, there are no shortcuts. Put in the time. You owe it to yourself and your audience.

But the next question may be: How do you practice? Each speaker will have (or find) their own preparation method and trust us, there’s no secret sauce. Do what works for you. A few suggestions:

  • Rehearse in front of the mirror
  • Memorize notecards – this is old school but it works
  • Record yourself and play it back. You’re your own worst critic and in this case, that can be a very good thing
  • Perform in front of your old Star Wars action figures (we’re not judging and neither will they)
  • Practice out loud. And practice often

Try to avoid the following public speaking pitfalls, a.k.a. things to avoid so you don’t have to skip town or change jobs:

  • PowerPoint presentations. Especially the ones they’ve been seeing for the last three quarters. Now, perhaps you have to use PowerPoint. All fine and good, but just because you open the program doesn’t mean you have to create something people want to shred if given the opportunity. Pie charts, heavy text, you get the idea.
  • Monotone voices. Along with emotion comes inflection, up and down, to bring emphasis to certain phrases and ideas. Practice will help. Find the high and low registers in your voice. Over exaggerate – then take it down again. Schedule dry runs with people you trust and ask where you lose them and where you need to add some punch.
  • Nervous tics. Too many “ums” or “uhs” or “ya knows” or “or whatevers” become tiresome and draw the audience away from the message. They lose confidence in the speaker, and ultimately tune them out.

Whether you’re preparing to speak at a department meeting or give the keynote during a company-wide convention, L37 will make sure you’re ready.

From Cancun and Amsterdam to Chicago and beyond, L37 brings our expertise to you, helping clients manage all aspects of live event productions. Click here to learn more or contact a member of our team.

Click here to read part two in this series!