They say that people fear public speaking more than anything other than death.
Guess what? "They" spread that fear by saying it. Forget I said it just now!
The audience is on your side. They're in your corner. Know why? Because they're already there. If you fall on your face, they've wasted their time, and they do NOT want that.
So here's what the audience wants - practically craves - from you:
- To be entertained.
- To be inspired.
- To have something to share.
They want to be entertained. Listen: the beginning of your speech is the critical moment, the point when mumbling will lose them forever. So what you want is a funny story, or a shocking statistic, or a question they can't help but answer. Whatever you choose, make it relevant to your topic, practice it again and again, walk out there with a swagger, and launch right into it without any notes. It's your moment! Grab 'em right away!
They want to be inspired. You want them - no, you EXPECT them - to take some kind of action based on your speech. To share your conviction that they are important to your cause, that they can make a difference. So show them how they can make a difference, and drop a call to action right on them! Get them to shout out their allegiance to the cause, to stand up and be counted!
They want something to share. This is the age of social media. Almost everyone in your audience has a cell phone. Something in the body of your speech must compel them to take out that phone and get a snapshot or start texting. Every one of them wants to collect some Facebook Likes and get their tweets retweeted. Help them! Give them a moment where the audience laughs out loud, or stands and cheers, because of something you said!
YOU are capable of all this. YOU are the expert on your subject. The audience is on your side. Now go out there and knock 'em dead!