I'm very excited to be doing some coaching with TEDxBrixton this Sunday.
I have delivered presentation training for over 15 years yet I still get excited about helping people deliver powerfully, reduce nerves and learn new techniques.
Here are 10 things to think about when delivering a talk:
1. Start and finish powerfully. How you start and finish are remembered more than the middle section. Grabbing the audiences' attention and knowing where you are heading is key to a powerful talk. I'll never forget the beginning of Aimee Mullin's Ted talk when she showed her designer legs, including a pair of legs by Alexander McQueen (the last pair on the right).
2. Be aware of your body language. Coming across as open, engaging and authoritative is essential to get your audience on your side. If you video yourself when you deliver your talk, you can get an idea of how you look and if you have any mannerisms that are distracting. This is much better than watching yourself in the mirror which can be distracting and unrealistic.
3. Understand what to do with your hands. There are more neurological pathways between the brain and the hand than any other part of our body so we often become over-conscious of them when we talk. We explore the best ways to use your hands to back up your talk. Generally open is good and pointing is bad.
4. Get into the right mindset. So much of confidence is sending out the right energy. Getting your head in the right mindset is essential. There are lots of ways of helping your head think positively: coming up with positive messages; reminding yourself of positive situations in the past; and using powerful posture to change your mindset. For example the power poses that Amy Cuddy talks about in her TED talk.
5. Use your focus. Where you focus is key to how people listen to you. If people think you won't look at them, their brain may start to wander. Keep your audience listening by looking at them regularly.
6. Enliven your tone. Often people think that if their tone is flat when they speak it's because they sound like that all the time. Often it's not the case. Often people are much more engaging when they talk naturally. We find ways to encourage variety in your tone. We use your written messages to ensure your tone is emotive and interesting to listen to.
7. Breath as you speak. Strange but people often forget to breath deeply when they are talking. It's so useful if you can learn to do it because deep breath helps you relax more. Meaning the more you talk the more relaxed you become. We explore how you breath and how to improve your relaxation through breath.
8. Energise the room. Energy can be ephemeral, however in performance and presentations it is essential to engage a room. Energising your talk is actually quite a technical exercise about how you use your hands and voice.
9. Make sure they can hear you. This is not just about volume. As the Greek amphitheatres can show you, it's possible to whisper and be heard at the back of the room. Much of it is ensuring your articulation is athletic. If you are aware of your consonants and vowels and sound them out, it's much clearer what you're saying. Tongue twisters are great at helping with this.
10. Be congruent. Congruence is a rather horrid word but an essential technique. It's a way of making all the things come together e.g. your body language backing up your message; your hands supporting the words and your tone demonstrating the feelings you want your audience to feel.
So if you think people are born good speakers, think again. All the great speakers work on their delivery to make it look effortless. Look out for TEDxBrixton's talks to see how the team do on the night.