Master Presenting

Stop The Awkwardness—Present with Confidence

13 Ways You Can Become a Better Speaker Right NOW


Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds via Compfight cc

It’s Monday. You have stuff to do. But let’s get you to be a better presenter, shall we? Lets.

  1. Practice saying the following phrase, “Thank you for you time. It has been my honor and pleasure to be here today.” Say it sincerely.
  2. Agree not to memorize your speech word for word. Break it down into chunks. Have an outline. Here’s a great example of this.  
  3. If you are speaking to colleagues, ask one of them to take notes about how you present, so you can be better. If it’s a group of strangers, ask if it can be recorded so you can see yourself in action. (For example: I had no idea that I touched my glasses when I was pausing. Rookie move on my part.) 
  4. Duplicate the last slide of your presentation so when you hit the button at the end, it doesn’t go to the computer screen. It looks tacky. Possibly triplicate that slide. 
  5. See what evergreen content is out there on your topic. Occasionally we cycle the same information, but taking a look at what is trending, popular or new can give us a new perspective. Let Google lead the way. 
  6. Go here and pick ONE TED talk to watch. Don’t listen to the content (which is nearly impossible) but try and analyze the delivery of the content. What makes the speaker perform well? What do you notice about their tone? Their engagement? What can you add? 
  7. Be good at shaking at someone’s hand. When you do it look at the person not the hand. 
  8. Grow comfortable with pausing. You don’t need to be an endless stream of words—take a breath. Smile. Nod. 
  9. Read The War of ArtIt will encourage you to speak well and fight the resistance of being mediocre.
  10. Write down 3 personal stories you’ve never shared in front of a crowd. Start keep a diary of your personal stories and antedotes so you always have something fresh. 
  11. Watch 15 minutes of popular stand-up comedy and look at the timing and set up of the comedian. Why does it resonate with the audience? Can you steal that style a little bit for your presentation? 
  12. Read a story to a kid. (If you don’t have your own set of kids or a gaggle of children, please tread lightly.) It forces you to slow down, articulate and tell a great story. 
  13. Write a handwritten note to someone who made you a better speaker. It will remind you how far you’ve come. 

And of course, you can just join my class—that would do it too!

About Ryan McRae

Ryan McRae has presented all over the world from South Africa to Afghanistan. He has spoken and designed presentations for Fortune 100 companies and wants this tech-focused culture to be able to speak well and with confidence.

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