Matt Rush has made a career out of being a public speaker. He knows, therefore, how challenging it can be to stand up and speak to an audience that has very high expectations. He also knows how good it feels to hold such a speech and to receive an applause or even a standing ovation. This is why he has developed a number of key hints and tips on how someone can become an excellent keynote speaker.
Matt Rush’s Top Tips for Keynote Speakers
- Proper preparation prevents poor performance, or the 5 Ps. Information has to be prepared if it is to be presented. Preparation must focus not just on content, but also on flow, materials, framework, and more. It also means learning about the material, so you can answer questions and speak with confidence at all times.
- Visualize holding the speech, and visualize receiving a standing ovation at the end of it. You need to be able to put yourself in the position where you will be standing, on stage, and watch yourself deliver a fantastic speech. It is about believing in yourself and making sure that you can really do this. You should try to visualize the entire speech as well, running yourself through the PowerPoint slides, the Q&A session at the end, the nods, smiles, and applause you will receive, and more. On a psychological level, it is known that visualization exercises help and Matt Rush swears by them himself.
- Rehearse as much as possible. Stand in front of a mirror and hold the entire speech. Record yourself having the speech and listen to it again. Once you start to get the hang of it, practice the speech in front of your loved ones. Find out, from them, whether they were able to grasp the things that you wanted to come across. Listen to yourself speak and find out when you make “uhm and ah” sounds. Don’t be afraid to give yourself criticism and to welcome criticism from others as well. It is a learning curve and constructive criticism is hugely important.
- Tell yourself that it is only a presentation. It may have been given a fancy name (keynote speaker sounds very official and frightening), but all you’re really doing is talking about something to people who are already interested in what you have to say. It is unlikely that you will be asked to hold a speech on something you know nothing about, so you really don’t have anything to worry about either.
Matt Rush believes that the real key to being an excellent keynote speaker is confidence. However, people are told that being confident is almost the same as being arrogant, something Rush vehemently disagrees with. Having faith in your own abilities and knowing that you can do something isn’t arrogance, it is right. So if you can genuinely tell yourself that you are good at what you do, then there really isn’t any need to even be nervous at all. Breathe, relax, and wait for the applause.