Here are some of my favorite preparation tips:

  1. Practicing is critical. Practicing on film is best. You can see what gestures look awkward, how fast/slow you’re going, etc.
  2. Make sure you NAIL the intro and the ending. Those create your first and last impressions. Make them interesting and memorable. Use visuals/stories/etc.
  3. Learn from Steve Jobs – less is more. Less words, more images.
  4. Breathe! Deep, slow, steady breaths.
  5. Vary your pace, inflection and volume – use all aspects of your voice as the tool it is!
  6. Jump up and down backstage or in the restroom before you talk to burn off some of that human energy.
  7. Move! Even if you must be behind a podium, stand to the side of it, gesture, incorporate movement so you don’t look static and robotic.

Remember that a speaking engagement of ANY kind is really a performance. ACT your words. Add emotions! Incorporate your values and passions so that people hear your excitement and authenticity. Show me that you care if you want me to care out in the audience.