I didn’t forget that women’s day and easter are behind the corner, since you guys asked me some out of the box ideas, that why I went through different stages to make my final decision about today’s article, since your interest for all the mentionned topics has the same number of vote. Ultimately, I thought that since public speaking is the most common fear out there. There a old saying « If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail », actually before knowing this, it was one of my daddy’s lessons when I was five or six. And believe me, I have never forget it. First, let me say that I was impressed with all the presentations. For very early stage startups, with minimal (if any) pitch / presentation training, they did a good job. Public speaking isn’t easy. And it takes a long time to learn how to do well. And it takes continual effort. For me preparation is the foundation of any good speech or presentation. Since I have been coached and I have coached others, I share the 3 steps process that work for me and seems to work for people that had the guts and willingness to get on stage in front of the audience..
STEP 1 – OUTLINING
Very few of us are natural presenters. I only know of a couple people who don’t get nervous on stage, what outlining helps you to do is to conquer fear by looking at the most possible interrelationships between the speaker (you), the audience, the subject and then the situation. What I often do, is that I write those four elements in a piece of corner, and then I spend some time thinking for example the interrelationships between :
- Speaker and audience
Is the audience friendly? Hostile? Apathetic or uninformed? Do you know them? Are they complete strangers? Do you have authority over them, do they have authority over you ? Having or showing little or no emotion: apathetic behavior.
- Speaker and subject
Why are you speaking about the subject? What does the audiance knows about the subject? Are they excited, bored, afraid by it? Do they know nothing, more or less than me?
- Speaker and situation
Why, when, how long ? Why this speech is happening ? When ? (morning, afternoon and night), how long do you have to speak ? All occasions has different norms for speaking, so according to your informations, which modes will better suit your audience ?
STEP 2 – THE PURPOSE
Speakers hope to accomplish general and specific purposes when they communicate. For most speaking, there are two general purposes what is your ? To inform or to persuade ? Do you want the audience to leave the speech knowing more than they knew beforehand ? Do you want them to adopt a new position or belief, to change their minds, or to be moved to action ? Since the line between informing and persuading is not absolute, many speeches will do some of both. What I like to do is to define my objective in a single sentence. And and it’s really comes easily when you answer to the following question : when I have finish speaking, my audience will….and you fill the blank with actives verbs that define clearly what you wish your dience will do.
My ultimate recommandation is to make sure your expectation is realistic. If your final objective is a too big step, think of what is an intermediate step, that could lead to your final goal. For instead if buying the product is too big ask, could your audience do a trial? Define an action that you know is clear, realistic, something that the audience is capable of doing immediately after hearing your speech. This is the most important thing you can do to get the right content to them, because you know what they need to feel, what they need to thing about you in order to take this action.
STEP 3 – ALL ABOUT THE AUDIENCE
Because every speech, every presentation is always about the audience, the audience is king dear readers. And since during the outlining you have answered a bunch of questions about your audience, you know by now what qualities (values, knowledge, style of communication, intellectual capacity) about them are relevant? Depending on the topic and purpose, persuasiveness could be influenced by whether the audience is young or old, rich or poor, female or male, highly religious or less believing, college graduates or high school dropouts, ethnic minorities or majorities. In addition, audiences often carry different expectations to a speaking occasion. At this point, I’ll make sure to answer those two points :
- What is my key message ?
What is that one thing? that even if the audience forget everything else, they will take home with them ? I encourage people to try and write their entire presentation in a single sentence, two at most. It’s a real challenge guys, but it’s worth the hype when you can crystallize the essence of your presentation content in one or two sentence, because then it clear in your minds.
- Why the audience should care ?
Audience is really the heart of the matter : some want to be there, others do not; some want to be entertained, others are looking to be informed; to write your persuasive speech define what does your audience care most about? For instead for an non profit organisation, if you can articulate what motivated you to take a risk and invest that could open the door for your audience to do the same.
A persuasive and successful speech leave you wanting more. Looking spontaneous and natural takes a lot of work that why the best speeches, are not made on the fly but they sound like they might have been. So use your webcam, smartphone camera, bathroom mirror and practice dear readers, practice again.
Do you use specifics steps for your speechees, what are the easiers and most challenging for you when it’s come to public speaking ?
Tell me everything folks, I’m thrilled to read your comments !!
Enjoy your weekend !