This is reprinted from a post by Ava Diamond* and I really liked it so I thought I'd re-post it here for my audience. Not my normal post - but good stuff all the same!
Masterful speakers don’t just pop out of the womb that way. They learn, they study, they practice. They fail, they figure out why, and they get better. They overcome their fears and build their skills. And they deliver powerful messages that transform the lives of their audiences.
So how can you become more masterful? How can you deliver a speech that inspires, that entertains, that educates…and that moves people to action?
1. Start Strong
Don’t start talking as you’re walking out on stage. That behavior often comes from nerves and takes away from your power opening.
Instead, say “thank you” to your introducer as you walk up. Then, confidently walk to the center of the stage. Stop. Take a moment to ground yourself. Make eye contact with the audience. Smile. Take a deep breath.
Only then do you open your mouth. And you start with something powerful.
The first few times you take this silent pause before you speak it will feel awkward. But what it does is conveys to the audience that you’re confident, you’re in charge, and that you are ready to connect with them.
2. Focus on Them
Your audience can tell when it’s all about you. And you’ll lose them.
Your total focus has to be on what you can give them that will be of value to them, and will help them transform their lives.
Yes, you may be there to sell your ideas, sell yourself as an expert, sell your products and services…but this cannot be your primary focus.
When you are focused on delivering value to your audience and to serving them in the highest way possible, those other things will happen.
3. Connect with Your Eyes
One thing that separates great speakers from mediocre speakers is their ability to connect with the audience.
So how do you do that?
Eye contact is critical.
A mistake that many speakers make is they try to give the impression that they’re making eye contact with the whole audience, so they move their head like a sprinkler head, back and forth, back and forth.
Instead, connect with one person at a time. Deliver a thought to one person, then switch to another and deliver the next thought. Over the course of your talk, your audience members will feel you are speaking directly to them. They’ll feel connected.
4. Be Human
The days of the “sage on the stage” are over. Today’s audiences want to engage with a real human being that is authentic, vulnerable, and has a message that will help their lives get better.
Be you. Be real. Allow your personality and your humanity to shine through.
Don’t imitate a “great speaker” you saw. Don’t take on a persona of what you think a speaker should be.
Don’t strive for perfection. That will sabotage you every time. (click to tweet)
Just get on stage and deliver the absolute best talk you can for that audience in that moment.
5. Don’t Be Distracted by the Haters
Focus on the audience members who are smiling, giving you eye contact, nodding their heads, and are engaged.
If you focus on those who look like they are in disagreement with you, it will throw off your game.
By focusing on those who are loving your message you’ll feel more confident and relaxed, and will give a better performance.
These five tips will help you be more powerful onstage. They’ll help you connect, and to stay confident and relevant.
© 2015 Big Impact Speaking
*Ava Diamond is a speaking mentor and messaging strategist, and is the founder of Big Impact Speaking. She has created such programs as Speak Your Way to Clients and Cash, and the Rock Your Speaking Academy. A professional speaker for seventeen years, she helps entrepreneurs rock their speaking so they expand their influence and reach, become known as the “go-to” expert in their field, and get all the clients they want.
Download the complementary Rock Your Speaking Power Pack at http://BigImpactSpeaking.comContact Ava at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 970-224-3015.