Sara Salo, MPH


Health through

Tighten up your public speaking

Sara TEDx

Be that person who gets invited back: wow the crowd with your confidence and stage presence.

1) Eliminate stall words NOW
If you’re a chronic “um-” or an “ah-“er: beware. The overuse of these stall phases makes you appear unprepared and unsure of your content. Not sure what your crutch word is? Or are your coworkers too kind to tell you that your presentations are agonizing to sit through? Have someone film a section of your next public talk. Your weaknesses will quickly be revealed upon playback. Once you’re aware of your stall phrase, be attentive during daily conversations. Practice eliminating these words from your lexicon. Still having trouble? I just Googled “How to stop saying um during presentations”. 1,330,000 results. Go there and start reading.

2) Familiarize yourself with the A/V equipment provided
Before your presentation, preview the presentation area. Get familiar with the technology and choose a location to speak from where you will be comfortable. Decide where you will set your notes. Learn how far you should keep the mic from your face (please!).

3) Stand on two feet & don’t fidget
Presenters who look like they can’t wait to get off stage will quickly lose their audiences’ interest. Grab people’s attention with a confident, two-footed stance, and try to avoid shifting weight from foot to foot. If you’re a wanderer (I am), make sure that your movement on stage doesn’t hinder the delivery of your presentation.

4) Use tidy, and well-designed slides
We’ve talked about this before. Less is more. I promise. And no comic sans. You will never be taken seriously when your text looks like it came from a cartoon.

5) Be yourself
You don’t have to be perfect. Show your personality, speak what you know, and be honest about what you don’t know.  Remember, you were asked to speak because someone thought you had something great to say. So say it, and say it well!

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