"If you can speak, you can influence. If you can influence, you can change lives.”
Public speaking can be nerve-wracking no matter how much experience you have. Stepping in front of a room full of people is no small feat but it’s a powerful tool for transforming the world. Take it from Linda-Marie Miller, professional speaker and First Runner-Up in the 2020 World Championship of Public Speaking.
In Episode 10 of Think Deeply, Speak Simply—Secrets of the World's Best Public Speakers–Linda-Marie revealed her best practices for public speaking virtually and in person.
Here are her favorite success tips for delivering an impactful keynote presentation.
Be vulnerable and authentic
Linda-Marie’s top attribute for successful communication is this: be vulnerable and authentic no matter what. Your audience can sense when you’re being disingenuous. Stop caring what you look like and start considering how you want your listeners to feel after your presentation. Changing the world isn’t about you. It’s about creating an experience that inspires your audience to be different. Appealing to your listeners’ hearts and minds will always be more effective than trying to lecture or instruct them. Instead, make it your personal mission to make them feel something. This will succeed in making your presentation easy to remember in the future.
Never hide behind your screen
With virtual presentations at an all-time high, it might seem easy to hide behind your PowerPoint presentation. Never forget that YOU are the presentation. Rather than sharing your screen and making yourself a small talking head in the corner, Linda-Marie recommends making your presentation your background while you remain in the frame. This allows you to better connect and engage with your audience.
Your presentation is your visual aid, but YOU are the star of the show. Don’t be afraid to be different or over-the-top to engage your audience. Do whatever it takes to keep all eyes and minds on you. Connect with the lens at all times so no one is tempted to walk away from their screen or turn off their camera.
Tailor your presentation
No one wants a one-trick pony who only has a single specialty. Be intentional and proactive about uncovering your public speaking strengths and weaknesses. Leverage all of your skills to keep your audience captivated. Commit to being a lifelong learner who is constantly expanding their craft and sharpening their abilities. Getting an outside opinion on your skills from a trusted source can be highly valuable. It can also help you identify blind spots and hidden strengths you might not have expected.