Not having visited the Great Public Speaking blog for awhile, I see that I have missed some terrific posts by Tom Antion and others when it comes to making speeches. So, I am going to list a few of the ones I really like, and provide a link to each in case anyone wants to read more detail about any or all of them.
Here goes:
*Don’t read from a script. Know your material, and speak from your passion with eye contact – thanks to Terry Paulson for this one (I have a related post on sneaking a peek at your notes however, and that one was also based on an earlier post by Tom),
*Go early and listen to other speakers who come before you, so you are in touch with what the audience has already heard, making sure you will be relevant, and allowing you to play off earlier material during your talk (Tom tells how he heard a noted speaker before him say that due to advances in health and technology, he was planning to put on a $10,000 seminar when he was 120 years old. Tom drew a big laugh when he commented during his own speech that he too was planning a similar seminar, and was offering a large discount to those who made a deposit that day.),
*Even if you speak often, practice your speech at the last minute (particularly if you have anything new (which you should), and some time has past since your last talk),
*Plan your opening with care – i.e., include, where appropriate, well-tested and inoffensive humor, no long convoluted story, what benefit they will gain by listening to you, and nothing controversial (unless you have a Howard Stern purpose), and
*Check the doors for creaking and/or noisy latches to avoid distractions, and take measures to minimize them (I never would have thought of this one).
Tom Antion really knows his stuff, so if speeches are a regular part of your legal marketing and you have a speech coming up, I suggest you visit his blog to see if there are other tips that will help you present more effectively.