Standing up on stage in front of an auditorium can be a frightening experience. Not everyone, after all, is born a natural speaker or performer. It takes guts and practice to be able to go on stage without breaking into a sweat.
The first time, particularly, that a person stands in front of a crowd to deliver a speech is the scariest. But with time comes experience and comfort. Aside from these, there is always the virtue of practicing.
To aid the amateur keynote speaker in delivering a rousing speech, here are a few tips to consider.
Organize and edit the speech, as may be deemed fit. Writing a speech is one thing, but speaking it is quite another. Make sure that there are no illogical leaps, both in reasoning and organization. A speech that has no focal point is no good. All the points must line up. To make this step easier, consider using index cards as guides during the speech.
Practice in front of a mirror (or a small group). When one has finished writing the script, it is best to read it out loud. This way, any inconsistencies in the speech will be determined. It will also train the keynote speaker in enunciating the words clearly and properly. The listeners will also be able to point out any criticisms regarding the speech. Aside from the speaking part itself, breathing must also be practiced. Even the pauses for breath in a speech are rehearsed by some great orators. Having to catch one’s breath in the middle of discussing inspiring people to a crowd is not a very attractive scene.
Dress appropriately. That is, dress confidently. A female keynote speaker can, for example, opt to wear a blazer and heels. This gives a professional look to the person delivering the speech, as well as added confidence. Looking sharp boosts esteem. Similarly, a man can wear a coat and shiny, black shoes to accentuate his outfit.
Relax. On the day of the event, keep oneself calm. Being distressed over the speech will not help any. Instead, keep a relaxed demeanor. This will help reduce the nervousness and anxiety that one may feel on stage.
Look at the audience. When delivering the speech, engage in eye contact. Gaze at the members of the audience, raising one’s head every now and then. This creates a connection – no matter how short – with the listeners. It shows that one is able to forge a relationship with them – as a mentor to a student. It also aids in concentration. A keynote speaker whose eyes roam around the room may exude the aura of restlessness, a trait that should not be associated with a serious individual.
Focus on the speech. The medium – the speaker – should not be the highlight of the speech. Rather, it should be the words. The lessons that the audience can take home from the discussion are far more valuable than whether one felt stage fright or not. A good keynote speaker should not place himself or herself on the limelight. All anxieties should not be addressed during the speech. Remove the self and focus on the task at hand. What is more important is to deliver it as smoothly as possible. Apart from that, little else matters.
Speaking up in front of any group to discuss a certain topic should not be cause for concern. Rather, it should be seen as an opportunity to share thoughts and ideas with other people. It is an outlet to teach and impart wisdom. With these tips, hopefully, one’s venture into delivering a keynote address will be a success.