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 who created it or not using the quote accurately.
Be sure your presentation has an 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.
When emotions are involved, make sure they match your content. Don’t get overly emotional if what you’re saying doesn’t warrant doing so. Keep them laughing and keep it lively.
A little spice and intrigue is always a great method of keeping your audience’s attention but make sure it’s used wisely and not overdone. More is not better in this case.
One of the best ways I discovered how to use timing is to watch Comedy Central. The standup comics are masters at timing. It is a well practiced artist that makes it look easy and seamless.
There is also a great technique called attention-grabbers. One type is using a 180 degree viewpoint. I was speaking at a Toastmaster’s club in Concord a few years back and one of the members asked how I got to Concord.
I answered with a straight face, right eyebrow arched, “In my car?” with just a lilt of a question. The immediate response was laughter. Of course that wasn’t the question that was being asked, but it is a masterful way of lightening the atmosphere and getting people to laugh.