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What's the Best Way to Begin a Speaking Engagement?

What's the best way to begin a speaking engagement

The master of ceremonies has finished introducing you, and the audience is waiting. What next? Take these steps before you launch your presentation: Approach the lectern with confidence. If you move slowly, your audience could assume that you are nervous, anxious or indifferent. Walk too quickly, though, and they will interpret your pace as over confidence. Best bet: Approach the lectern about 25% faster than you normally walk. That conveys the impression that you are excited to be speaking to the audience and that you are eager to begin.

• Smile as you walk. Shoot a smile at your introducer and that person is likely to smile back. Smile at your audience and many people will smile in return. You will have built a roomful of rapport before you ever speak a word.

• Wait. Shake hands with the person who introduced you, and then wait until that person takes a seat before you say anything. Reason: If something occurs during the trip to that seat, the audience will not be distracted from your opening words.

• Respond to your introduction. Build abridge from the introduction to your presentation. Include a greeting for your audience and briefly engage your listeners with a little small talk about their location or your experience with their organization. That allows you to build further rapport so that you will have the audience on your side as you transition into your presentation.

About the Author:

Shakira M. Brown is a 13 time award-winning PR and Marketing expert and the Managing Principal and CEO of SMB Strategic Media LLC (, a boutique communications firm specializing in providing affordable public relations, branding, content development, social media management and search engine optimization for small and middle market businesses. Her firm also offers three month One-on-One Private Intensive Brand Coaching to small business owners wishing to take their brands to the next level affordably.

Shakira, also known as The Small Biz Whisperer and hosts a weekly podcast titled, the Moment Masters Show available on iTunes and Google Play. She is also the co-founder of Growth & Success Con, a one day conference premiering in March 2017 featuring over 20 small business experts to help small business learn the skills they need in one place. For more information visit

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