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When you write a talk, presentation, speech or even copy for your website you don’t write it all in one massive block of text, with no spacing and no variation.  So, why would you do the same when you talk in public?

Here are some quick hacks to make your talk as interesting and varied as say, the copy on your website (hopefully!) looks.

If you write something in bold or italics this is to emphasis it so it stands out over the other words and our eye is drawn to it.  When we are speaking, especially in front of an audience to emphasise a phrase we can leave a short pause before the phrase, say the phrase a little slower than normal and then leave a short pause after the phrase.

If you have been asked to do a long presentation, which I suggest is anything over half an hour, I would suggest breaking it up into different segments, of say 20 minutes each to keep your audience engaged.  This is the equivalent to chapters of a book. So, for example, you could talk for twenty minutes, show a film for twenty minutes and get people in small groups working on something in the last twenty minutes (more like a workshop).

If you … really want to emphasise a point then the equivalent of the … in public speaking is a dramatic pause, which pause of around three seconds long.  If you are not used to this then it can feel really long, but trust me it works! You can feel the anticipation in the room as the audience are waiting to hear what comes out of your mouth.

If you have dialogue, in a story or on a website, they would be in “exclamation marks”.  The equivalent of those in public speaking is moving to a different position. For example, as you move one step away from where you are currently standing, you could say, and he said … No acting skills involved, just moving.

And, finally, if you take a look at the images on your website then they are hopefully engaging and enhance your copy.  So, if you use slides in your talk, they need to be the same and enhance the words you are saying and the way you same them.