More than just talking: Katie Karlovitz on why you should approach public speaking as ‘show time’

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Katie Karlovitz

Before delivering a speech, what do you do to prepare? Though it is important to fine tune the content of your message, it is just one of many things you should think about prior to speaking. In an interview with IABC, Katie Karlovitz, a public speaking coach for the consultancy On Speaking Terms, recommends approaching your presentation with the entire picture in mind.

To help you deliver a presentation that hits all of the marks, Karlovitz shared a snapshot of what her pre-presentation routine looks like:

1. Prepare and rehearse your content: “Never read off of your slides,” Karlovitz shares, “That is the kiss of death.”

2. Check your wardrobe: Make sure your outfit is ready the night before. Warns Karlovitz: “Your choice of wardrobe will be sending a message before you can say anything.” She recommends wearing a power color (like red) that will help you stand out, and shoes that will help empower you but still make you feel grounded.

3. Fuel up: Eat a good breakfast—but nothing too heavy if your presentation is first thing in the morning, says Karlovitz. And cut back on caffeine, which can mix with your pre-speech adrenaline, she warns.

4. Brush and floss your teeth: This isn’t just about good dental hygiene. “Those are your articulators—your lips, your teeth and your tongue—so you want to make sure that you awaken your mouth.”

5. Get familiarized with the space early on: Make sure you know exactly what your set-up will look like before it’s time to speak. Karlovitz recommends that if you can’t scope out the place early on, at least ask for pictures so you have a visual of what to expect.

“I liken this technique to being an actor on stage,” she shares. “This is more like a performance than it is just talking, so you want to be as ready as that.”

What are the top three qualities of an effective speaker? Listen to our complete interview to find out.