I had the great opportunity to be invited to deliver a keynote at a Toastmasters Open House event recently.

After my speech, I received excellent responses from many of the attendees. However, one attendee’s response caught me off guard. They said that I didn’t do a “normal” speech like other Toastmasters’.

My first thought was “What is a normal speech?” But, then I realized that many of these Toastmasters members have been caught up in the “Toastmaster” way of life and have no idea what works in the “real” world – especially when you’re out there trying to sell a product, a service or simply an idea!

So, I thought I would share a few valuable speaking and presentation tips culled from my 25+ years of experience. These tips can not only help you sell your product, service or ideas but, also make you a sought-after speaker. Have a look …

Typical is Boring.
Put yourself in your audience members’ shoes and understand that “typical is boring.” Watching a performer take risks is exciting. The best of the best break the rules. However, they don’t break the rules just to break the rules. They break the rules to raise the stakes, to get you to sit up and take notice. That is what makes you memorable. And audiences will line up to see you. Remember, Simon Cowell of American Idol fame? He was the highest paid, most-watched judge because he broke the rules, and was far from normal. I’m not saying to go out there and insult people. Just be different, stand out and get noticed.

One Key Message.
How much information do you think your audience can take home with them? The problem with many speakers is they jam too much information into their presentation. Just think of when you’ve watched other speakers. Do they “drone” on and on, listing point after point after point of information? Remember, your objective in any speech or presentation is to get your audience to take away one (1) key point. That’s all! No one will remember all the information you give out. So, make sure they take away your key message. Throw in stories that help support your key message. Make it fun. Make it lively. Just remember to get them to take home your key message. And they will love you for it!

Entertain your Audience.
If people simply wanted information, they can find it on the internet or any other source. They don’t need to listen to you. That’s why you must remember, that one of your main responsibilities in speaking or presenting is to entertain your audience and make your information enjoyable to learn. So, cut out all the “crap.” Don’t say things like, “Let’s get started.” The minute you are introduced, you’ve already started. Similarly, don’t say things like “I’m going to tell you a story.” Just tell it – in an interesting way of course! And remember, just like writing, performing is often about cutting out the fat. If you do streamline your message, you might start to think about your public speaking as putting on a show, rather than giving a speech. And that makes all the difference.

Is your message ready for the public? Or for your potential clients to hear? Make sure you deliver the right message. And if you need help … Get your marketing and sales messages professionally written.

Looking forward to your continued success…

J. Brett Abbey
The Message Master

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