If you don’t want to get your speech off to a bad start, the communications experts at Speechworks suggest you:
- Don’t apologize (particularly about your anxiety or lack of preparation. Apologies put your audience on the defensive.
- Don’t start by telling a joke (which may not be all that funny, or is irrelevant, or that may even be offensive to someone in your audience).
- Don’t beat around the bush (including, don’t list off a lot of people you want to thank. Don’t waste your audience’s valuable time)
- If you need to deal with your anxiety, practice like crazy. Rehearse particularly your first line over and over.
- Start your presentation by laying out for your audience a key issue that they are facing in their business.
- If you must thank someone, do it at the end, or thank your introducer briefly, pause, and then start right into the meat of your message.