Speaking before a crowd can be an exciting and meaningful experience for you. Hence, you must prepare for that day when you’re going to deliver your message in front of a big crowd. There are also things to avoid – pet peeves in speech that will do more harm than good.
1.Dressing inappropriately for the occasion. Keynote speakers determine early on what the speech is for. It can be a formal or informal event. Wear something appropriate for the venue as well. If it’s a commencement exercise, you should be in your best. Dress to the nines with your suit and tie or a long dress.
2.Looking anywhere but your audience. Eye contact is essential for keynote speakers and their listeners. You can connect to your audience if you look at them while you are speaking.
3.Using fillers in your language. You know how it’s like to hear a professor say “uhm”, “er”, and “like” in place of words that could have sent the message across. These fillers show how unprepared a speaker is. To avoid this, write your speech beforehand and keep a copy with you, just in case. If you are not accustomed to delivering a speech impromptu, don’t attempt to do it on the day of the event itself.
4.Typing your speech using a small font and printing it in light color. The lights in the venue can prove to be tricky, so print your speech in bigger and bolder letters if you must. It will also prevent you from doing awkward actions such as squinting while reading or bending your head to get a good look at your script.
5.Not putting page numbers in your script. This will not matter if you have a one-page script and you don’t intend to talk for long. However, keynote speakers are usually invited to talk for an hour or so. Thus, adding page numbers to your script will make the delivery easy for you – there would be no shuffling of papers or confusion. You can just carry on with your speech.
6.Apologizing for your materials or lack of information. Never say sorry because, in the first place, it is your job to research on the topic.
7.Showing slides that have too many words for the audience to read. It would be a chore for them to listen AND read at the same time. What most keynote speakers do is that they provide bullet points – only the essential facets of their topic – and talk about the rest.
8.Babbling. If you have prepared for the day, you would not have to resort to beating around the bush.
9.Making unnecessary introductions. These include “I’m going to talk about…” or “My topic is…” Just go straight to your real intro which, by the way, should be anything but boring.
10.Speaking so quickly and quietly. Talk at moderate rate and volume. Your objective is to be heard and understood.
11.Making unnecessary gestures. Use your hands for a purpose. You may gesticulate to emphasize a point, but avoid using gestures too much because they could distract your audience.
12.Not smiling. A friendly expression helps you build rapport with your audience. Smile every now and then. Inject humor, albeit on-the-spot, to your speech. The best keynote speakers are those who make their audience comfortable and attentive despite two hours of talking.
13.Arriving late at the venue. You are the guest, and probably the reason why people would attend the event. Earn their respect by being considerate of their time, too.
Now that you know what you should never do, you’re more than ready to convey your message in the best way possible.