This week I gave a speech to member of the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce and others on social media. It was called “How I Went From Social Networking Manager to Cartoon.” I was nervous, but everything went smoothly and all of the attendees were very complimentary. I learned a lot too. Here are Benchmark 5: Things I Learned About Public Speaking.
- Stick with universal truths. I figured I would get a few laughs from my Ask Andy videos. I wasn’t as sure that the others would land. I made a joke about knowing what your ex was doing thanks to Facebook … and included my ex’s engagement photo. It killed. I also discussed how I probably learned more skills I apply to social media at the bar in college, than I did my classes. Tons of laughs. Those are experiences almost everyone can relate to and that’s why the jokes succeeded.
- Put your audience at ease. My parents still don’t understand what I do for a living. I knew the audience I would be speaking to would probably be around the same age. I sought to drive home the point that I was never educated in social media. I learned as I went and certainly made a few mistakes along the way. It instilled confidence in their own social media abilities and made them feel OK about any lack of experience they may have.
- Gauge their knowledge. For my speech, I wanted to talk about the best practices of social media. I skipped over going through the glossary of social media terms. That was a mistake. Not everyone in our audience knew what a hashtag or retweet was. Once I realized that I made sure to explain what I was talking about any time I used some jargon.
- Always leave time for a Q & A. My speech ran 45 minutes itself. My audience had plenty of questions afterwards too. We were forced to cut the questions short after 15 minutes. I can’t imagine where I would have left the audience had they not had the opportunity to have some of the questions addressed.
- Examples for every point. I hadn’t anticipated needing to explain hashtags, so I didn’t have an example. Since there was no wifi where I was giving the presentation, I couldn’t pull up Twitter to show them. Prepare an example for any point you wish to make. A visual always helps drive it home.