The Best Handful of Tips 2 – Preparing your next talk
Good preparation is the key to a successful speech.
What do you really want to accomplish? What is your objective? Write it down using simple words. e.g. “To vote for me at the up-coming election.”
What will your audience want to know? Can you tell them something new? Have you some interesting anecdotes or amusing stories to illustrate your recommendations.
The mistake many people make is to clutter their presentation with too many facts. If you want people to remember what you are saying don’t make too many points .
A U.S.A presidential speech writer once told me the ideal number was no more than three points. Tell your audience what you are going to tell them, make your main points then review your recommendations in your summary.
Here are the five best tips for preparing your next speech
1. Research your audience and the environment where you will be giving your address
How many people will you be speaking to? Who are they? What do they know about the topic you plan to talk about? How old will they be?
Is the venue suitable for the type of presentation you are planning to give?
2. Decide on your objective
Try to appeal to the audience’s beliefs, attitudes and values and aim to tell them something new.
What do you want them to remember?
What action do you want them to take?
3. Prepare your draft
Research your topic and jot down your main points in a logical order.
Write a draft of your speech. Divide the speech into three units – the introduction, the main body and the conclusion. Be prepared to rewrite your introduction at the finish so you get things in perspective.
Add some entertaining anecdotes or jokes to make your points memorable.
4. Prepare your visual aids and handouts
If are using visual aids they must be simple and seen by all the audience. Use strong colours and bold letters.
Never forget you are the main visual aid. Watch your body language, your facial expressions and the way you dress. These can be more important than your words
If you have handouts don’t give them out until you have finished talking.
5. Prepare well, pre-test and practice
Write out your speech the way you talk, not the way your write. It must sound right to the ear. Eliminate weak words.
When you are happy with your written notes take a small card and jot down the key memory words to keep you on track. If you can use this card you will give a better talk than by using your written notes.
Important speeches should be pretested with a critical audience.
Don’t read your notes. Chat to your audience.
If you have prepared well, rehearsed and practised the speech, you should feel confident and relaxed on the day of your presentation.
Close like you mean it! Be enthusiastic. Never read your conclusion.
“A speech is like a journey. It has purpose, direction and a destination.”