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Speak Like a Pro

Three Things That Get Almost Every Who Speak in Public in Trouble While I wait to go on stage to speak I often first sit through vendors saying “a few” words, the association president’s message, and then the person introducing me. They are all trying their best, but they could do better. Here’s how. Microphone Tips Most people hold the mic like Gene Rayburn—he was a famous game show host who had a really long mic. This is not a compliment. Your mouth can’t be too close to the end of a handheld mic. I know, gross, but true. You almost have to eat the thing for it to work best.For lavalier mics that clip on, the temptation is to put it where it says to, on your lavalier. However, the best place is in the middle of your chest up high so when you turn your head it still picks up your voice. If someone pins one on you, ask if it’s on so you don’t end up with an embarrassing, “hot mic” incident.

Last, but not at all least is to arrive early and test the mic you will be using. If possible, don’t just say, “Testing, testing…” Instead, say a few words in your speaking voice to get the levels right. Also, see how (or if) it turns on and off, check the batteries, and wipe it down. Germs…

Slide Advice

Death by a thousand slides. Or worse, one slide with a million things on it in tiny type. Steve Jobs had the best slides. They had dark backgrounds with big, bold, white type for contrast and readability. He often only had one word or sentence on each. This is far better than one slide with a hundred words. A few more things about slides. If you want to show a video, embed it in your slide. Don’t trust wifi…ever. If you can, have your laptop on stage with you to act as a monitor so you don’t have to turn your back on the audience (you’re no Miles Davis) to see what’s on the screen.

Body Language

It goes without saying that when you look good you feel good. Dress your best. When you walk on stage enter like you own it—confident. Pause a second to allow the applause to go as long as possible. If you can, stand away from the lectern. Do what you can to make yourself look big—hands out, legs apart, and of course stand tall.

Lee Silber is a 30-year veteran of the speaking world with over 2,500 presentations to over a million people. He recently founded Sidekick as a way to help others speak like pros. You can reach Lee at 858-735-4533 or

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