How To Deliver An Excellent Speech Or Presentation
There will be a number of occasions where you may be requested to give a speech or a presentation. Sadly, too many presentations are not remembered.
However, there are four basic things that you can do to ensure that your verbal messages are understood – and remembered – time and time again.
Prepare: plan the structure and draft the speech / presentation including an introduction that grabs the attention and sets your objectives in context; a middle in which you move logically from one point to the next (get to the guts of your speech quickly); an end that summarises what you have said (without repeating it), and leaves the audience with a good impression of you as a speaker.
• Decide on your objectives – if there were only three points that you would like to leave your audience with, what would they be?
• Know your audience and tailor your message according to their background and experience.
• Practice, practice, practice – not just in front of a mirror but in front of a test audience (a friend or a colleague) too.
Deliver: ensure a flawless delivery by following these steps:
• Use prompt cards so that you can maintain eye contact
• Observe audience reaction and use methods like changing your pitch and pace to draw them back in if they seem bored or distracted
• Use open body language
• Engage the audience on an emotional and intellectual level
• Build up to a resounding conclusion in which you call the audience to action if appropriate
Review your performance: It can be hard to judge your own performance. Ideally, ask a member of the audience – perhaps a colleague or friend – to give you an objective opinion on your performance.
• Did you meet your objectives?
• Did you engage the audience?
• Did you explain all points clearly?
• Was the timing right?
• Which areas would you improve next time?
As ever failure to prepare results in failure to achieve!
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