Ten things I’ve learned from making speeches

  1. Speak to the back of the room.
  2. Keep your chin up. Body language is often more impactful than the words you are saying.
  3. You are as confident as you feel.
  4. Speeches should be, ideally, memorized. Second best is off-the-cuff with bullet-point notes. Worst is read straight off the page without looking up.
  5. The audience is anonymous. Who cares what they think. Still…sometimes you need to pause for effect/laughter.
  6. Mean it.
  7. Have one point. Make sure that point is clear by the end of the speech.
  8. Be funny, when appropriate. Hint: it’s rarely inappropriate. Yes, you can even be funny at funerals if you know what you’re doing.
  9. Know your audience.
  10. Powerpoint sucks when it’s not used correctly. It’s a tool, not the focus, of any presentation.

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