1. Know your audience. Why are you speaking to this audience? Who is going to be in the audience? Why are they attending?
2. Know your environment. Make sure you arrive early to check out your speaking arena. Check lighting, audiovisual equipment, microphones, room layout, anything that may impact your presentation to ensure all is ready and working fully.
3. Know your purpose. What is the reason for your presentation? Is your purpose to inform, demonstrate, persuade, or entertain? Or perhaps a combination of the above?
4. Know how to start. Start your speech or presentation with real impact. An effective introduction allows you to establish rapport with your audience. It should grab their attention and interest, as it is your chance to create a favourable 1st impression, and you only have 30 seconds to do this.
5. Know how to structure. Have you organised your presentation so that your main topical points flow in a logical order and are easy to understand? Have you used anecdotes, stories, humour to help your audience understand the meaning of your facts and statistics?
6. Know how to end your speech. The conclusion is an important part of the speech or presentation as it is the last thing your audience hear. It is your last chance to create a last impression. It plays a key role in how your audience will remember you and your key messages.
7. Know how to talk with ease. Write down your major points or statements so that you can refer to these if needed when speaking. Use eye contact with your audience during your speech.
8. Know that you must practise. Have you practised your presentation over and over again using only abbreviated notes? Have you practised your eye contact, pace of speech, volume, tone and body gestures? Have you practised to the point where you are comfortable with the material or content?
9. Know when to use handouts. If your presentation involves statistics and analytical data, put them in a handout that the audience can refer to. Don’t bore them by reciting a plethora of numbers. When used well, numbers and data will add to the impact of a speech, rather than boring the audience in detail.
10. Know that it is you that brings a presentation or speech alive. What will the audience most remember? It is unlikely they will remember power point slides. They will remember well presented information supported with relevant data and anecdotes and which is delivered with meaning and emphasis