Hold the Champagne, but keep the bubbly when public speaking

Maybe Mariah Carey can get away with being intoxicated when speaking in public, (like she was at the recent Palm Springs Film Festival) but most mere mortals trying to earn a living cannot.  Here are some tips to make your next presentation something to pop a cork about:

1.  Be prepared.  Make sure you find out ahead of time what the room looks like, how many people will be in the audience and what they expect from you.

2.  Have a back up.  If you plan on using media in your speech, have an extra drive with your presentation on it — just in case! And be ready to go low tech, high touch if the technology fails completely.

3.  Grab the attention of the audience with something catchy from the start.  A funny statement, a quote, a graphic–anything that will cause your audience to focus 100% on you.

4.  Be bubbly.  If you don’t bubble over about your topic, the audience won’t either.  Unless you are delivering bad news, speak with enthusiasm.

Nichola D. Gutgold is associate professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State Lehigh Valley and author of Paving the Way for Madam President.

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January 2010
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