Last night as I celebrated my daughter’s birthday at a Darius Rucker Concert at Bayside at the beach in Delaware, it struck me how much a great entertainer is similar to someone making a great speech or presentation. Let’s take a look at the similarities that lead to success.1. In the first 30 seconds on stage, you knew he would deliver what was promised. Darius entered the stage with high energy; he was fully present and immediately connected with the audience. He said “Don’t worry if you miss anything, this lady up front is filming the whole thing on her iPhone. See her after the show” Everyone had a good laugh. The background flashed familiar street and route signs of the area, our favorite football team symbols and photos of the beach. He spoke of taking his children to the beach and mentioned local attractions. He was right out at the front of the stage speaking to everyone and moving around to connect with the audience. Do you connect with your audience or are you following a script? Connecting with the audience early puts both them and you at ease and gets things going.2. As he sang the first several songs, I noticed that he danced while music played between verses but he came back on the exact correct note often turning in unison with the lead guitarist or the banjo player and making a face-to-face connection. That took lots of practice and it showed. How often do you practice your speech? Do you know just where to pause or to emphasize an important point?3. Darius choose several songs that were very familiar to the audience and asked them to join in singing the chorus. This got everyone involved, young and old. I am sure people heard us down on the boardwalk in Ocean City. The participation made it exciting and more memorable. Do you get your audience involved? No, it may not be singing the familiar chorus to a tune but it can be asking a question, getting a person to participate in a demonstration, telling a story that creates a vision and connects or ask them to do something.4. I took a look at the media control area, this was clearly a well coordinated multimedia show with flashing lights, colorful background graphics and mixing of the music from Darius and the band. Your presentation probably will not call for this elaborate orchestration of media, but your media should be rehearsed. Are you presenting with PowerPoint, including a switch to a website, or perhaps a video? Practice switching media helps to ensure smooth transitions. Yes, in today’s world there can be snafus with technology, but practice enables the best possible result and the opportunity to create a backup plan.5. Darius ended on a high note with lots of energy. He sang a familiar song and there was an explosion of music, graphics and lights. The crowd was thrilled! Then he said thanks for a great time, drive safe and come back next year. We all left satisfied and knew exactly what to do next.Take a tip from an expert and prepare like a pro!