During the past 15 months of covid, the “business as usual” template has been anything but usual. Your team and client meetings have most likely all been virtual. Therefore we all needed to learn new technologies. But that is about to change. In-person meetings are resuming. Here are three tips from a twenty-five year professional speaker to help you best prepare for this transition and deliver great, effective presentations.
Everyone, when asked to speak before a live audience, wants to do a great job. That is always the goal. But a goal without a plan is nothing more than a wish. So what are the ingredients of a SIMPLE PLAN which produce a great speech?
Many new or inexperienced speakers think they must tell their audiences all they know about their topic. But that’s not the winning ticket. Pick what you consider to be the three major points of your topic. Then develop those key points around events at work and your team’s past successes. Be specific and offer evidence to support your points.
All speakers, myself included, get edgy several days before giving a speech. What I do to lessen these pre-speech jitters is to start preparations well before the big day. I’m amazed at home many new speakers start their preparations a day or two prior to the event. A bad idea. No wonder they are nervous and stressed before their speech. I would be too if I followed that approach.
You want your research completed and basic speech outline formatted at the latest, one week prior to speech day. You’ll then want to rehearse your speech. Find a quiet, interruption free area and practice the speech at least two times each day prior to going live. This is the time to tweak, adjust and edit your message, eliminating all the non-essential material. You’ll start developing a feel for the flow of the presentation. A most helpful benefit of this approach will also emerge: repetition produces confidence. That confidence is just what you need to tamp down your pre-speech nerves.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL:
What kind of questions are you expecting from the audience? Will your message generate audience buy-in? Why or why not? What’s the plan for dealing with this? Do you plan to use audience participation? Where? How much? What’s the take-away point of each audience interaction?
At the end of the second rehearsal each day, give yourself an assessment. What can be eliminated? What must be cut back? What, if anything needs to be added? Why? Keep in mind that all these edits must be in synch with the three stated points in your SIMPLE PLAN. If they don’t provide “congruent support”, revise or eliminate them. If you are not absolutely convinced of a point’s value, delete it. You and particularly your audience will be grateful you did.
If you take an approach like that described above, you will deliver a more effective and meaningful speech. You will also have much better control of your pre-speech jitters and you will sleep better the night before your presentation.