Question: Other than "practice makes perfect," what's one tip you have for fellow entrepreneurs about to speak in front of a big crowd?
Work on the Climax
"When you speak, it is important to construct the speech like a movie. Your audience needs to be attentive from the very beginning. If not, you will lose them for the rest of the speech. Once you have your hook, you need to lead them to the climax of the story or what you are tying communicate. Make the people feel that they were a part of the story and get emotionally tied to it. "
Embrace the Nerves
"Always keep in mind that even the most accomplished speakers get nervous leading up to public speaking. It is completely natural. The nerves are actually a good thing and can be used to your advantage if channeled correctly. Those nerves get adrenaline pumping through your veins -- similar to what a professional athlete might experience. Use this to your advantage to deliver a knockout speech."
Know Your Content
"There's a big difference between relying on a slide deck for the content of your talk and just keeping to a rough outline. If you know your content so well that you can have a no-stress casual conversation off-stage about it all day long, you'll be much more comfortable on stage. Giving a speech where you need to constantly read off cheat cards is a recipe for disaster."
"Approach the crowd like you’re having a conversation with a friend. Assume everyone there likes you, wants to hear what you have to say and wants to grab a beer with you afterwards. Talk like a human, act like a human, and own it."
"Nothing can be more powerful than acknowledging, embracing and taking charge of your breath before speaking in front of a large audience. Breathe in to the big moments, and breathe out to pause between them."
Put Purpose at the Forefront
"Start with why you're there (i.e., identifying the purpose of your talk). End with your purpose, and use everything in between as the bookends of your talk to support your purpose. When purpose is at the forefront of a talk, the audience acts. "
Speak From the Heart
"The only thing worse than not being prepared is preparing too much. If you're going to speak in front of an audience, it should come naturally. It should be prepared in advance, but not recited. If you plan your speech verbatim, you run the risk of losing the beat and getting lost when you stumble. However, if you focus on fewer high-level points, you can speak intuitively around those. "
Believe You're the Expert
"I often perform best when I convince myself that everyone in the room wants to hear what I have to say. If you are positioned as an expert and attendees are in need of your knowledge, speaking confidently will come much more easily. Besides, speaking with confidence will ensure that the audience trusts that you know your stuff. "