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Guest post by public speaking guru, Michelle Bowden.

Many of the students that undertake a School of Hard Knock Knocks stand-up comedy course do so to improve their confidence, timing, and comedic edge as keynote speakers. And one of Australia’s most experienced trainers of keynote speakers is Michelle Bowden, and she’s happily shared her advice on public speaking – of which #4 is, you guessed it, humour! Now, here’s Michelle:

Here are my top public speaking tips to help you so the next time you speak, you do an excellent job and feel great!

1. Pay attention to logistics.

Set-up your room properly, know how to use the microphone and the PowerPoint. Make sure everyone can see you and you can see them. Keep the lights on so you can see people’s eyes. And ‘zen’ the space, remove mess and distractions every time.

2. Analyse your audience.

What are they thinking, feeling and doing before you present and what do you want them to be thinking, feeling and doing when you are finished? Make sure everything you say and do is completely in line with what your audience needs to see and hear so they change their thinking and/or behaviour.

3. Rehearse.

There is no substitute for rehearsing parts of your speech over and over until the words flow easily. Just don’t rote learn it – your brain won’t handle it.

4. Be funny.

Public speaking provides you with the chance to entertain your audience. When we laugh we learn better and retain the information for longer. Find something that they genuinely find amusing and be sure to cleverly link it to your content.

5. Manage difficult audience behaviour.

There are lots of things you can do to facilitate the group dynamics in a positive way to support the individuals whilst maintaining the good of the group. Work hard to maintain everyone’s focus and achieve the outcomes with minimal distractions.

6. Be yourself and let them ‘know’ you.

Create rapport by telling your audience a bit about yourself. Always make sure that your personal details link to your content – otherwise it’s a story for the sake of a story.

7. Feel it.

What do you want your audience to feel? Make sure you feel it too! Want them to feel ‘confident’ in you and your message? Then you must feel ‘confident’ too!

8. Use props or slides that help you make your point.

Slides should reinforce your key messages. Awesome slides help people recount what you said in a context outside of the presentation. Use www.unsplash.com or www.pixels.com for gorgeous, free, memorable images.

9. Bring solutions.

If you’ve researched your audience well, it should be easy to bring needs-based solutions to their problems. People listen to speakers who can solve their problems!

10. Call your audience to action.

What do you want them to ‘do’ with your information? Make sure you are explicit about this – so people know exactly how to change as a result of your message.

Interested in improving your public speaking? Learn more about Michelle Bowden, her coaching, and courses by clicking here.

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