Dan Naden

Are you ready for the biggest presentation of your life?

The crowd gathers in the conference hall; the buzz about your presentation is so alive you can feel electricity in the air. Every noteworthy blog, Twitter feed, LinkedIn discussion group and e-mail list has been hyping your presentation as the next big thing.

The front seats fill up within minutes. With five minutes until your presentation, there’s not an empty seat in the hall.

You review the key talking points in your head, while wiping a faint bead of sweat from your head. A last sip of water and a nervous press of your pants steadies you. You are ready for this big moment.

The Master of Ceremonies’ resonant voice fills the room:

“Thank you for coming to this conference. It is wonderful to see a sellout crowd gathered for such an historic occasion. I have heard our keynote speak a number of times, and your life is ready to be changed. Please help me welcome our keynote speaker.”

If you were given this complimentary introduction for your big speech would you be ready? Would you exceed the expectations of an audience already buzzing with excitement?

When it's your big chance to take the mic, what will you do?
When it’s your big chance to take the mic, what will you do?

Here are a few tips to keep your audience talking long after the lights dim:

  1. Talk with your audience, not at them: If your goal is to show how smart or funny you are, you’ll fail miserably. Ask the audience some questions. Get their hands in the air. Make them stand up, sit down, jump around. Make them repeat the key points of your presentation.
  2. Tell stories: Stories make you seem more real, more authentic, more reachable. It’s perfectly fine to add some quotes and facts to help make a point, but stories (the more vivid, the better) are the pieces of your presentation that will be remembered.
  3. Speak from the seats, not the podium: If you’ve done your homework, you intimately know the hopes, dreams, fears of your audience. You know what keeps them up at night. You are well aware of how they are motivated. Being a thought leader means knowing the questions and answers that are always on your audience’s mind.

When you are passed the microphone for the biggest presentation of your life, will you be ready? Follow these tips and you’ll hear that pre-presentation buzz; you’ll feel that electricity and seize the moment.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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