No matter who you are or what you’re involved in, a time will come where you need to get your point across. The venue may be different for a lot of you, a class room, a conference room, at a kiosk, door to door, the sales floor or maybe even just to your neighbor. Speaking is a universal necessity and the better you can do it the more you can achieve. Let’s talk about how to wake up that CEO voice sleeping inside of you.
There are a couple keys to the organization of a speech that will push you into the upper echelon of linguistics.
1. Know your audience… Seriously
First and foremost, everything that follows this point is based off of you knowing who you are talking to. Understanding the context of where you are delivering your speech. There is a time and a place for everything. This is more of a nuance, as it takes a keen eye to truly read a crowd.
2. Open with a boom
Don’t waste your time thanking someone for their introduction, or by whimpering about how nervous you were before you began talking. Come out swinging. A stat, metric, joke or engaging thesis that will leave them wondering. Whatever it is, let them know you have arrived and this is going to be good.
3. Finish your thoughts
When you have a lot to say it is very easy to loose key information in your impatience to get to the next point. Planning out key points you want to touch on, and sub points that direct your explanation of the major topic, will not only stop you from skipping talking points. It will also allow you to be spontaneous and more candid in your delivery. If I’m telling you why dogs are better then cats, my sub points might be:
a – they’re more personable
b – they play fetch and do tricks
c – they’re protective of your family
Boom. I have a major topic with three sub points. I can speak on a sub point to my hearts desire, and know exactly where I’m going when I am done with point A.
4. Q&A Does not come last
You want whatever it is you need to get across to be the last thing on your audience’s mind. When you put a Q&A session last you can’t always guarantee the outcome. So as you’re coming to a close through it out there that you would love to answer some questions. Field the necessary amount that you believe to be appropriate and then hit them with, ” and in closing…”
Here is your elevator pitch. If you were on an elevator with someone and had to give this entire speech in thirty seconds, what would you say? Do that now. Summarize, prioritize and wish them well.
If you are really interest in speaking and leadership and are looking for an opportunity to sharpen your skills then check out the toastmasters podcast. I am not a member of this club, but can see how it could truly be a benefit. At least if you are interested in a variety of topics on presenting better then check it out.
Or you could always subscribe to my blog, and just take notes. 😉
What do you do to prepare for a speech? What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone on their first big presentation? Let me know in the comments!