Inspiration: Be sincere...

Be sincere, be brief, be seated.—Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century. Learn more...

The reality of today's workplace is that almost everyone needs strong speaking skills. There are loads of resources for doing better presentations. Here are a few of my favorite tips:

  • Memorize your first 30 seconds. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
  • Don't tell jokes; tell stories. (Particularly if you're terrible at jokes.)
  • Use graphics and photos more than bullets and text. This is especially helpful when you want to change up what you're going to say because you're not stuck reading the text. You can say almost anything you want with a graphic.
  • Stick to the point. For every slide, ask yourself: does the audience really need to know this?
  • Never, ever, ever run long. How many times has a meeting or conference been derailed when one of the speakers took more than the allotted time?

Whenever I speak at a conference, I ask the organizer when he or she wants me to be finished. No matter when I start, I always try to end on time. I remember the time I was given 45 minutes. The organizer knew I had 20 slides so she was really panicked when I spent 20 minutes on my first slide. And then she was astounded when I finished 3 minutes early. I guess I've learned to expand and contract based on the schedule. (In the world of development, I've always preferred shipping on time rather than feature complete).

Check out Garr Reynold's great rant against "Slideuments" plus many many tips on speaking in this article at LifeHacker.

Need a speaker at your next event? Check out our speaking page.