Monthly Archives: March 2022
It has been 2 years since many of us have been able to give a speech to a live audience in person. Some of you may have NEVER given a speech anywhere except via your webcam. I’m going to tell you 20 fundamentally important things you have forgotten (or never knew) about giving a speech to a live audience. Also check out my video and article on The Worst (and Best) Practices for Giving Online Speeches.
The list below is just the bones. The video above contains the meat.
- Never leave an empty stage.
Like a relay racer handing off the baton, always shake hands to hand off the stage to the next speaker.
- Take your name tag off before walking on stage.
- The clock doesn’t start until you do. Take a moment. Gather thoughts. Study the room.
- You don’t have to pin the timer. They will be sitting in an obvious place in the room.
Also, there is no gallery view when in person.
- This one is for the audience: There’s no recording when it’s in person, so Take good notes.
You will get a printed agenda. Write on the back.
- Stand up. You shouldn’t be sitting when you speak anyway.
- Body Language. Use your whole body from Head to Toe. (and dress appropriately from head to toe too)
- You’ll have a stage. Use all of it.
- Passage of time in our culture goes from audience Left to Right. That is Speaker’s Right to Left.
- Positional reference. You can refer to something by the place you talked about it on the stage.
(ex: at home, went to TM, realized I forgot something back at home)
Can be a person, place, time, mood, etc
- As you speak, Look around the audience naturally, deliberately, equally (front/back/left/right)
- Hold eye contact with individuals in the audience for about one sentence at a time. Not too long/short
- Keep your eyes off the ground (unless it is intentional)
- Don’t turn your back on the Audience.
- There’s no virtual background, no screen to share, don’t ask “Can you see my screen?” and you can’t turn your camera off.
- Project so the person in the back can always hear you without straining.
- Live voice is always more dynamic than listening through computer speakers. Use it!
- If you have a PowerPoint presentation – talk to the audience, not your slides.
- There is no mic to unmute. (unless you are using a microphone)
- Know your speech (doesn’t mean memorize), notes are OK, teleprompters aren’t.
BONUS 21. Unless you are deaf, waving your hands in the air is NOT applause. Please clap. That is what you will hear at the end of every speech. and if it’s an icebreaker it will be a standing ovation.
Always shake hands before leaving the stage
Take your name tag off before going on stage
Pause before you start speaking
Get familiar with how the timing works
Be prepared to take notes
Use your whole body and dress appropriately from head to toe
Use the whole stage
As you use the stage, time should flow from Audience’s Left to Right
Take advantage of Positional Reference
Make eye contact naturally, deliberately, equally Front/back/left/right
Hold eye contact for one sentence with any one person
Don’t look at the ground
Don’t turn your back
There’s no screen to hide or share and no virtual backgrounds
Project your voice so the person at the back can hear you without straining
Take advantage of the dynamic possibilities of live voice
Talk to the audience, not the PPT
There is no forgetting to unmute the mic
Know your speech.
See you On Stage!