Your vocal control is extremely important. You’ll learn to use intonation. The level of your voice says nearly as much as your words. You need to make sure you’re comfortable with your vocabulary. Don’t use words that you’ll stumble over.
It took me years to master orientated over oriented. I grew up with a learning disability and was terrified of using the wrong words at the wrong time but eventually learned not to use words until I thoroughly understood their meaning.
When you use dates, be sure that they are correct. If you use statistics be sure they’re accurate. And one of my real pet peeves is not giving the person the credit for a quote that created it or not using the quote accurately.
Be sure your presentation has the appropriate beginning, middle and end. And always deliver more than the perceived expectation. Content rules in the speaking arena. Don’t ever let anyone tell you any different. There are a lot of speakers who deliver a lot of fluff and are constantly selling throughout their presentation, don’t become one of them.
I learned from a very seasoned speaker to nod while speaking. There’s something contagious about a nod. When you start to nod at positive points in your presentation others will match your nod and you’ll gain agreement from a wider range in your audience.
There are two schools of thought based on accessibility. There are some speakers who isolate themselves from their audience, but I believe the more available you are, the more impact you will make.
While speaking, do not hide behind the podium or table. Get right out there and be with your audience. After you’ve spoken, stay around so your audience can speak with you. If you’re at a trade show or doing a keynote at a convention, stay at the same hotel as the attendees. You’d be amazed at the good will it will create for you.
Always video tape every presentation you do. Use the video to review your presentations. What is working, what isn’t? You’d be amazed at what you can tell from the video. You’ll see what works, what doesn’t, your stories that get the best reactions and the ones that don’t work.