Good speech titles helps add mystery, interest or a roadmap to any speech. However a good title must always have great speech content as the basis.
Content is what the audience is ultimately is going to judge your speech and their overall experience. If your content is weak, the audience will remember your speech as weak. By the same reasoning, if your content is powerful, your speech will be remembered for a long time and the audience will want to hear more.
Now the follow-up question is; “How do I make my content the best it can be?” Spending time doing pre-planning and thinking on the quality and strength of your content will be of great benefit. You should always be asking yourself, “What do I want my audience to take away from hearing me speak?”
Once you have determined the audience’s take away, you can now plan how the best way you can accomplish this. It may mean particular facts, figures, emotion or personal stories that will provide the fuel to accomplish your goals.
Remember, great content leads to a good title and a good title must have great content as a start.
Every speech or presentation can be categorized into 4 objectives; to Inform, Influence, Instruct or Inspire.
As you work on your speech, take time to do a self check. Are you accomplishing one of these objectives? For example, if your main objective is to influence your audience, can you say that the body of your presentation is meeting your goal.
Many speakers think that as they are speaking, they are accomplishing one of these 4 main objectives, however, when asking the audience, a different answer may come up. This is why asking a friend or a business associate to review what you are presenting is indeed matching your main objective, makes good sense.
Each of these objectives will involve different stories, data and style. To influence your audience, you will need to be persuasive with either facts or a story that helps illustrate your point. To inspire your audience, you might have to have your audience think outside their comfort zone. Instructing your audience you may need to use the information from outside experts.
As you develop your speech, pay attention to what you are actually accomplishing versus what you would like to accomplish.
I love watching movies, especially vintage movies. What often draws my attention to a particular movie is the title. I believe the same idea can be said of walking down the aisles of a library and pulling out a book to look at. It is the title that draws your attention. If this is true for movies or books, why can’t the same idea be said concerning the title of your speech?
The importance of speech titles are many times over look by speakers. In our rush to complete a speech, we pay little attention to the idea that the title is the first impression your audience gets concerning your speech.
Many times, a great title will add a sense of mystery or excitement to your speech. It can connect your speech with the audience and what’s in it for them.
One way to connect the content of your speech to the title is if your title asks a question. Of course you must answer this question in your speech.
A person’s brain operates best on a finite amount. The title of this nugget could have been, “The 3 ways a title adds power to your speech.” People like to hear definite numbers-3 mistakes, 5 secrets, 2 ideas- this gives your audience a basic outline of your content.
Titles are important. Spend time putting the magic touch on your presentation or speech by having a great title.
Have you ever sat in an audience and hoped the presenter would fail? Of course you haven’t. As a speaker, most members of an audience want you to succeed. They look forward to being inspired, educated or influenced. A speaker should consider the audience as a friend and not the enemy.
As a professional you have some thing of value to say. Your being in front of the room is no accident. The audience is looking forward to what you have to communicate. It is important that you spend the time needed in preparation so you give the audience what they came for.
Most audiences generally do not noticed when a speaker is nervous. For many inexperienced speakers the severity of their nervousness is more of an issue that resides in their own mind. If an audience does notice your nervousness, the value of the content they are receiving is what they are most interested in acquiring. Keep in mind that sincerity trumps style every time. As long as you give solid information, much will be overlooked. Realizing this, there may not be any reason to apologize for your nervousness. When you apologize you are bringing the audience attention where it need not be. Practice not to offer an apology when nervous.
The great orator, Winston Churchill, would purposely add a bit of nervousness and mistakes to appear more ordinary.
The audience is your friend. Treat them as such.
Everyone has butterflies in their stomach. The only difference between a professional and an amateur is the professional has the butterflies in formation-Zig Ziglar
Life is a series of speeches. Whether it is standing up at a meeting giving a progress report or simply answering the question, ‘So, what do you do for a living?” we are always giving a type of speech.
Once we understand that every time we speak, whether to others or even to ourselves, we can accept that a speech is being delivered. This acceptance starts to put those butterflies in formation and helps us work towards the outcome that is best for us.
When speaking at a business meeting, what outcome do you want? Do you want to appear knowledgeable? Do you want others to come to you for advice? Or do you want not to look like a nervous babbling fool? Looking knowledgeable versus not looking nervous may mean different types of practice or speaking styles, such as persuasive, entertaining or conversational, may be used.
If you are at a party and are asked, “What do you do?” What is the end result you want? Is it simply to answer the question? Or is it to extend the conversation?
To better control those initial butterflies and put them in formation, spend time reflecting, planning and practicing what you need to be saying. It makes it easier.
As speaking professionals we will deliver information to various audiences in various settings. We may be delivering either technical information, science based information, business skills, interpersonal skills information or just general information. In any case we need to be delivering factual information. However, depending on the type of information it may not be factual.
For example we may be delivering current thinking on a subject at this time and if so we need to state it as such. Also, based on our own experience and knowledge, we may offer a well thought out opinion on a subject. Lastly, it may be just an opinion.
There is a wise saying, “You have a right to be wrong in your opinion, not in your facts.”
Do the necessary research to make sure your facts are facts. Do not fall for some of the political thinking that there are ‘alternative’ facts. There are no such things.
A common thought is that it takes 10,000 hours to learn a new skill. Research has also shown that the beginning hours are the most frustrating and difficult which is why learning a new language or a new activity is so hard.
Josh Kaufman in his book, ‘The First 20 hours: How to learn anything…fast’ teaches that rather than focusing on the whole 10,000 hours we should deliberately concentrate on the first 20 hours. It is a rather simple and deliberate process. First, you begin to deconstruct the skill desired. Secondly you must then learn to self-correct. Lastly, remove barriers to practice, such as procrastinating. Of course you must practice for 20 hours; forty minutes a day for thirty days.
As speakers, trainers or facilitators, we are constantly improving our old skills and learning new ones. Rather than making New Year’s resolutions, which for most people get sidetracked, maybe it is better to use the advice of Josh Kaufman.
Take a skill, whether a new or existing one, and concentrate on deliberately improving it for 20 hours.
You may be surprised on how much fun you have and look forward to working on the next skill.