Published November 12, 2012
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons. Email your questions about best practices for starting up and/or managing a small business to firstname.lastname@example.org.
No. 1: Walk Like a Gorilla
From Robert Sofia of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC
Presenting well has a lot to do with the presence you create. Most speakers hunch over their notes, feverishly reviewing them before they go on. This is the worst thing you can do! Instead, walk around a quiet area while waving your arms in the air. Puff your chest out. Take big steps with your legs spread apart. This actually expands your diaphragm, improves posture and boosts confidence. Try it!
No. 2: Hire a Coach
From DC Fawcett of Paramount Digital Publishing
Hiring a speaking coach is a strategy that I’ve used to enhance my public speaking skills, and I recommend it to anyone else as well. This has helped me tremendously; I will always remember the recommendations that were given to me by my first coach.
No. 3: Put on a Show for Your Employees
From David Ehrenberg of Early Growth Financial Services
Bring out the snacks and have the CEO put on a show for his/her employees! Employees know the inside scoop and can provide insightful feedback. And they will relish the opportunity to be the experts and act as advisors to the CEO.
No. 4: Have a Beer or Two!
From John Hall of Digital Talent Agents
Have a beer or two! Sometimes, to loosen up, I’ll have a beer so I’m relaxed when I deliver a speech. Just remember to stop at one!
No. 5: Present the Night Before
From W. Michael Hsu of DeepSky
I was super nervous the night before my first solo presentation at a conference and couldn't calm my nerves. So after having a drink at the hotel bar I decided to check out the room I was going to speak in. It ended up being unlocked so I took the stage and gave my presentation to the empty room. It works.
No. 6: Endure the Mirror Test
From Jay Wu of Best Drug Rehabilitation
I use the mirror test to make sure I'm ready for a big pitch. I go in front of the mirror and practice my entire pitch while staring directly into my eyes. If I can do the whole pitch and look away from my own eyes 3 times or less, then I know I'm ready. Try it -- it's extremely difficult to do if you're not confident about your pitch.
No. 7: Record Yourself and Watch It Back
From Nathalie Lussier of The Website Checkup Tool
Practice makes perfect, but you can't improve if you don't know what you sound like. Recording your presentation and watching it will give you the perspective you need to fine tune your delivery.
No. 8: Watch Friday Night Lights
From Sunil Rajaraman of Scripted.com
If you have not watched Friday Night Lights, tune in on Netflix and check it out (all seasons are available for streaming). Coach Eric Taylor is one of the great motivational speakers of our time -- even if you're not a football fan, you'll be in awe of his ability to motivate and "mold men."
No. 9: Get Inspired by TED Talks
From Brent Beshore of AdVentures
Watch TED talks. They're highly curated and typically fantastic. Plus, you’ll learn something!
No. 10: Round Up a Teenaged Test Audience
From Aaron Schwartz of Modify Watches
Whether it's your family or a friend's basketball team, rally a group of youth to listen to you speak. They squirm, they text, and they get bored very quickly. Practicing in front of youth will force you to be dynamic and be clear with your messaging. It will also steel you for any distractions that might come when speaking to adults!