In this lesson I give you three simple tips that will save you lots of embarrassment and some tips that will save your life!
· Plan your Route: When you arrive at the venue where you will be speaking, look at where you are sitting, look at the stage / lectern and ask yourself, "How am I going to get from here to there?" Next, if there is a stage with steps leading up to it, find out which side of the stage the steps are on. (Not all stages have steps on both sides). There is nothing more embarrassing than being introduced and coming to the side of the stage that has no steps. So much for your well-planned grand entrance!
· Don't Be A Heel: This one is for the ladies. Be wary of wearing heels. Here is a formula for disaster – three steps leading up to the stage, no railing and a woman in heels who is already nervous, holding a script and not concentrating on ascending the steps. A broken or twisted heel makes for a less than graceful entrance.
The Cell is Hell: My best advice is to never bring your cell phone to the lectern with you. Aunt Mavis who calls you from Florida to tell you about Uncle Floyd's gout has no idea you are addressing 1000 people at the moment! Also, even if you leave your cell at your table or at your chair, turn the ringer off. Nothing is more distracting than hearing your cellphone ringing and there's nothing you can do about it! Your mid-speech concentration will be gone!
In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I do bring my cellphone with me to the lectern at every event I do be it a speech, an emcee job or a seminar. I use it as a clock to make sure things stay on time. But it is always on silent mode!
I now offer you some tips that could save your life! OK, these tips may not actually save your life, but they may save your speech! Now that you have rehearsed your speech and you know it inside and out, don't let one of these physical pitfalls trip you up!
Arrive early. Be the first one there. As you are alone, experience the silence and the emptiness of the room. Get to know the place. Watch the room gradually fill up rather than walking into the overwhelming sight of a room filled to capacity.
Kleenex is your friend! Have some handy in an easily reachable pocket or tucked in your sleeve. When you are two inches away from a live microphone there is no way to muffle the sniffles!
Be mindful of your liquid intake. Whether you're drinking soda pop, coffee, tea or water cut yourself off as speech time approaches and be sure to answer nature's call (even if you don't really have to!) Also remember, nervousness can sometimes compound the urge.
Know where the restrooms are.
Avoid carbonated beverages! The aftereffects of a carbonated beverage and a live microphone do not make for a good mix.
Your Cell phone is only to be used as a clock to keep your speech on time. Turn the ringer off!
Plan your route from your table or seat to the lectern.
Be careful what you have for dinner. A piece of meat stuck between your teeth and no toothbrush can ruin your concentration as you speak.
The best ad-libs are written.
Jokes can make or break a speech but they usually break it. If you are not a comedian I suggest that you not venture into these waters.