Let me guess.
You watched the Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday night to see your favorite shows and actors take home the hardware.
You probably didn’t watch for the typical, ho-hum acceptance speeches.
But within each ‘thank you’ routine are several important public speaking skills.
Whether you’re receiving an award, delivering a speech or even giving a business presentation, here are some lessons from TV’s top performers.
1. Keep it short and sweet
Emmy-award winners know they have limited time on stage so they say only what’s necessary. There’s tremendous power in brevity. The tighter your message, the more likely the audience will remember it. And the actors never repeat themselves. They make a point and move on.
Unlike the Emmys, there is no ‘wrap-it-up’ music in the real world (Dave Chapelle sure tried), so the key is to ‘anticipate‘ when it’s time to go.
2. Pay your respects
Yes, actors always thank a million people, and it can be boring and predictable. But there’s a method to the monotony. Thanking people underscores your humility, makes others in the room feel good and sets your speech on the right course.
3. Tell a joke, a story or both
Audiences love a good story because they are far more interesting than an Emmy winner saying ‘this person was amazing’ and ‘you guys are such an awesome crew to work with.’ Watch Steve Levitan, whose show Modern Family won Outstanding Comedy Series, talk about a moment on the set (and even fit in a joke).
[embedplusvideo height=”298″ width=”480″ standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/h9TqMO-CQvk?fs=1&start=18″ vars=”ytid=h9TqMO-CQvk&width=480&height=298&start=18&stop=39&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=” id=”ep1175″ /]
4. Be poised
When the actors walk onto the stage, they own the moment. The lights are shining, the cameras are rolling…it’s go time. They all remember to smile, scan the entire audience with their eyes and project their voices. The actors don’t stare at the first few rows; instead they look out towards the back of the room. That makes everyone feel spoken to and included.
5. Every mic is a hot mic
On stage, the rules are different. The actors know that any microphone they come across could be ‘live,’ meaning turned on and amplified. Remember this giant gaffe by Vice President Biden? If you’re near a mic, watch what you say.
[embedplusvideo height=”350″ width=”430″ standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/u2yBRucRe7c?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=u2yBRucRe7c&width=430&height=350&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=” id=”ep1036″ /]
There’s a reason people practice big speeches, and it’s to avoid embarrassing moments like this, courtesy of Seth Macfarlane, creator of Family Guy.
[embedplusvideo height=”350″ width=”430″ standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/wjTZ0wj0x4o?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=wjTZ0wj0x4o&width=430&height=350&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=” id=”ep6482″ /]
7. Respect the Audience
People will always listen to you — as long as you value their time and attention. Keep a speech short, give your thanks, tell a story/joke, stand up straight, project your voice and know when it’s time to stop.
The audience assumes you’ll go on forever (because too many people do). Being brief will drive home your point and give the crowd a pleasant surprise.
And trophy or not, you’ll walk off a stage feeling like a winner.
Did your favorite show/actor win last night? Who got snubbed in your opinion? Who deserved to win the most?