1. Focus on Content
Think very deeply about the message you want to send to your audience. When you are preparing, MOST of your time should be spent on crafting this message. Even if your speaking style is awkward, you will be successful if the message is right.
2. Have Strong Openings and Conclusions
3. Remember Key Words, not the Whole Speech
People who try to memorize their entire speech word for word often look awkward and uncomfortable. What is worse, if they forget something, they are lost and look very unprofessional. Instead, just remember five or six keywords and fill in the sentences as you go.
4. Prepare with a Watch
Teacher Joe prepares his speeches wherever he goes - on his way to work, during a break, while sitting on the toilet. To make sure he will not waste his listeners' time, he always uses a stopwatch. By timing yourself, you will be able to cut out unnecessary parts of your speech and really fine-tune your message. (See number one above!)
5. Use Stories
Stories are one of the most powerful ways to communicate. Stories help your audience listen carefully and remember your message better. You don't need long, complex stories. Simple events from your own experience are an excellent way to show what you mean.
6. Speak with Emotion
Our schools and work environment encourage us to use our logical left brain, but most people make decisions using their imaginative right brain. When you appeal to people's emotions, you reach them in a way facts and figures can rarely do.
Take some deep breaths before you speak and keep your body upright and relaxed during your presentation. Only use hand movements or body movements when they really match what you are saying. With more experience, you can add more "body language", but at first, keep it simple.
8. Speak Slowly
When you speak slowly, you have more time to think about what you want to say and how you can adapt your message to this particular audience. The audience will also be more likely to remember what you say, which is, after all, your main goal!
9. Videotape Yourself
Teacher Joe often makes a before and after video of his students. They are always shocked to see their first presentations but very pleasantly surprised by the improvements in later presentations. Rather than just say "Practice makes perfect", you can SEE it in a video.
10. Join Toastmasters
Teacher Joe joined Toastmasters in 2003 and it changed his life. Toastmasters has a great plan, and you will benefit immensely from not only speaking and receiving evaluations, but also by learning to give evaluations yourself! You can learn more about Toastmasters at www.toastmasters.org and you can learn about Joe's club in Beijing at www.tmbj1.org