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10 Tips to Make Your Speech Sparkle

Woman standing behind lectern speaking to people around table

1 Don't apologize.

If you make a mistake, there’s no need to say you’re sorry. Pick up where you left off and keep going.

2 Use humor when things go wrong.

If something goes awry during your speech, tell a quick joke to help put you and your audience at ease. For example, if the lights go out, a good joke might be: “Who forgot to pay the electric bill?”

3 Eliminate filler words.

Using umms and ahhhs in your speech will distract from your message. Briefly pause to gather your next thought or take a sip of water.

4 Ditch distracting mannerisms.

Nervous fidgeting or gestures will detract from your message. Use purposeful gestures to give your speech more impact.

5 Keep your notes in check.

If you need to use notes, be subtle and do not read your speech.

6 Test your volume

Before your speech, ask a friend or colleague to listen to you from the back of the room to ensure you’re speaking at the right volume.

7 Enjoy yourself.

Choose a topic that is important to you and that you feel passionate about. Your commitment to the topic will help sell the speech to your audience.

8 Use visuals.

Make sure your visual aids reinforce your message and don’t distract from it.

9 Embrace your unique style.

Don’t copy the style or gestures of other speakers, as your audience will sense a lack of authenticity. Be yourself; no one does that better than you can.

10 Fuel your mental engine.

Eat a light meal at least 20 minutes prior to your speech.

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