by Nicole Thompson
My love for public speaking began when I realized that I had an important message to share with the world. Although this idea made me extremely nervous and I had to step outside of my comfort zone, I knew that this was a sure fire way to get my word to the masses. Therefore, my main focus was to keep the audience engaged and wanting more of what I was teaching. Not only was I able to accomplish that goal, I also learned something invaluable – how to get a standing ovation. Here are 5 tips to get you started:
- Be confident in your knowledge and wisdom – As speakers, many of us are familiar with imposter syndrome. You know, feeling like you do not belong and are not worthy enough to share your passion. The first step in getting a standing ovation is to overcome that fear and exude confidence in your area of expertise. Sure, there may be some people in the audience who have more credentials than you but you have to remember, you are the expert. The audience has come to learn information from you and it is your job to deliver that knowledge and wisdom with confidence and a feeling that you belong. Afterall, if you did not belong, you would not have gotten an invitation to speak.
- Tell great stories – Everyone has a story that brought them to do the work they are so passionate about. When you share that story, it makes your why very clear and oftentimes relatable. Your audience wants to know that you are vested and have spent time doing the work that you are speaking about, and there is no greater way to do so than by sharing your own story and stories of those you have helped along the way. Storytelling is a great way to keep your audience at the edge of their seats and wanting more.
- Let your passion show – No one likes a boring speech, so when you are on the stage, be sure to let your passion shine through by showing excitement and keeping a high energy level. Let them feel your pain points but also let your audience feel inspired and ready to take action due to your success in that area.
- Practice, practice, practice – With any speech I give, I make sure to practice on a consistent basis leading up to it. Here are a few specific strategies that work for me everytime. First, I give my speech in the mirror and pay attention to my body language as well. Since a majority of communication is nonverbal, it is important that your body language is not disconnected from what you are saying. Second, I record myself on my phone and replay it numerous times. Pay attention to inflection, tone, and whether you are effectively getting your point across. Lastly, by doing the aforementioned, you ensure that your speech is aligned with the allotted time that you have. The saying rings true, practice makes perfect!
- Focus on the people that are affirming you – While many encourage speakers not to look directly at the audience and look over their heads, I recommend the opposite. When I speak, I am sure to focus on those that are engaged and affirming that I am doing a great job. This little bit of encouragement goes a long way and keeps your fire lit until the very end.