“…. and I am very pleased to welcome our speaker today, who is here to entertain and inform us with an interesting talk on ….”

As a public speaker you will get used to this type of enthusiastic introduction, promising your audience that you will deliver both entertainment and information as well as being interesting. Your first thought on hearing this, however, is that you hope you can live up to it.

You can relax a bit; most audiences want you to succeed, and your best chance of this is to speak about what you know. Do not look for interesting topics or speech outlines on the internet, especially those that claim to be amusing or, worse still, funny. They are not. Put some subtle humour in your speech, but leave out jokes or any form of comedy routine – there is always someone funnier than you in the audience and dealing with such competition is an art in itself.

Try also not to be unintentionally funny. Genuinely concerned that those furthest from me could hear me clearly, I would innocently ask in my friendliest manner “…. can you hear me at the back …?” “Yes I can”, came a response on the last time I said this, “but I’ll gladly swap with someone who can’t”. I never quite regained their full attention after that.

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