Your appearance. Make sure you look professional. Wear clothes that look good and make you feel good, so that your main focus is having a conversation with your audience. Your goal as the speaker is to be comfortable, which makes your audience comfortable. When your audience is comfortable with you, they are more open to your ideas.
Take care of yourself. Take care of your body, your speaking instrument. Get plenty of sleep, take care of your voice, stay hydrated, pay attention to your body language, and slow down your gestures and make them fluid and easy.
Thirty seconds. The most important time in your presentation is in the beginning and in the end. Make that first 30 seconds count. Engage people with a story and connect it to your big ideas. Give people a reason to care about what you are telling them. people will care if you spend the time up front understanding what is important to them and what will move them. Same with the last 30 seconds. Make every word count.
Devices and Distraction. The biggest challenge is getting people away from their devices. It’s a daunting task even for the most experienced speaker. You have to make your presentation more compelling than what is taking people away from your message. The best way to do that is to tell stories that connect people to what you want them to know.
Have someone else introduce you. When you are the featured speaker, have someone else introduce you. If you are concerned about people using devices during your presentation, ask your introducer to ask the audience to put down their devices for a bit.
Write your own Introduction. It’s a good idea for you, the speaker, to write your own introduction. That way you can get the electronic device housekeeping out of the way before you start. And the person introducing you can sing your praises, which sounds a lot better than when it comes from you.
When someone else introduces you…you are free to create a compelling opening. You can start with a story, ask the attendees to imagine a certain person in a particular situation. Invite them into the story. You can also start with a bold statement that is tied into your key messages. Give your audience a reason to care about your presentation. When you come to your conclusion, remind people about your key messages. Your beginning and ending are related. Make sure you close the loop at the end.