You can do better. You deserve better.
The late Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement address at Stanford University has been viewed close to 8 million times on YouTube. Eight years after he delivered it, a text version still flies around the Web. The speech is as powerful for its message–stay hungry, stay foolish–as it is for its structure and delivery. “Today I want to tell you three stories from my life,” he said. “That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.” And with that, viewers (and readers) are hooked.
“You would do better practicing in the shower, and running through the speech in your head, than practicing in front of a mirror, which is distracting,” says Jane Praeger. “You do have to practice out loud, hopefully with a small audience.” Practice replacing deadening filler words like “um,” “so,” and “like” with silence. If you can rehearse in the space where you’ll be speaking, that’s a real plus. Go to the back of the room, imagine that you’re deaf or distracted, and you’ll know how to reach those people.
2. Work the room
Try to speak to audience members before your speech, so that you can focus on a few friendly faces, particularly if you get nervous. “If you’re making eye contact with a friendly person in quadrant one, everyone to their left will think that you’re talking to them,” says Praeger. “Then do the same thing in quadrant two. You want to see your talk as a series of conversations with different people throughout the room.”
Read the other 7 at Forbes.