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Planning a speech? The first 30 seconds will determine your success. What others have said and done is irrelevant. This is your speech and the audience will be seeking something authentic. They can smell poor preparation and mediocrity from the parking lot. Learn from the best, but don’t copy them. That is a common mistake among new speakers. Speaking of speech, here are 5 tips to make it happen in the first 30 seconds.

1) Know your venue. Plan your speech for that stage, that night, that audience. Showing up an hour before you speak is not preparation. Where possible, visit ahead of time, perhaps a few weeks prior. If that won’t work, arrive a day early and make it a point to walk it and talk it.

2) Own your voice. Speak to be heard and understood. Give your talk on your terms with the forethought to organize your message. Create wow.

3) Look sharp. Black is a great option. Navy blue is also tasteful. Dress a step above the audience and avoid looking like a beautiful butterfly.

4) Prepare your introduction. A clear concise message is much better than the announcer “winging it.” Pause at least 10 seconds before you begin. Typically the crowd will turn to one another to comment on your introduction. Especially if it is well written.

5)  Project. Say it like you mean it. Begin strong. End strong.


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