Last week, it was a pleasure to spend time with new cohorts at a meeting.

During the meeting, it was highlighted by the host that I offer professional speaking engagements…and that I might be able to offer support to any one else in the cohort with speaking questions.

Indeed, one of them emailed me with this question:

“As I mentioned [at the meeting] I’m speaking for the first time next Thursday and I’m freaking out… I would love to hear some tips; sounds like you have some good ones…”

Here’s my response:

“I’d love to help – and my next several days are packed! I’m traveling to speak this coming week so that’s my focus. Knowing your talk is this week, here are a few suggestions to noodle:

1. Don’t use notes. They provide a crutch, are a distraction and you really don’t need them.

2. Smile as you speak. It can take practice to master this AND it has a huge impact, even a pleasant countenance when talking about tricky topics helps put the audience at ease and helps you relax.

3. Slow down. I learned to slow down when I spoke in Mexico City years ago and had to because an interpreter was keeping up with me. It was a powerful real-time lesson and has helped me keep getting better; to imagine the interpreter.

4. Keep your points tight. I cover no more than 3, period. People can remember three, you can remember three and if people want more, then that’s where the engagement goes deeper.

If you want more, following your talk this coming week, I’d be glad to discuss helping you develop and hone your speaking skills. It’s exactly what I help some of my clients do: best connect with their audiences in their speaking endeavors.”

Use these for yourself, as you wish. And if I can answer specific question on speaking as it relates to connecting with a speaking audience, get in touch. Happy to field them. Thanks.