How many speakers watch the nightly news programs and applied what they learned to their presentations? The key point that you can take away is how fast the announcers go from one story to the next. Stories are compact, short lived and quickly grab your attention. In a space of 30 minutes, you may have many stories.
The danger of not constantly holding your audience’s attention is that they may mentally use their brain as a remote control and zap you to the next channel. This maybe simply just daydreaming or looking at their smartphone.
Your forty-five minute presentation may be one topic, however think in terms of five to six minute scenes. Each scene is built around your points and sub-points. Also in each scene there is a sentence that you deliberately inserted to direct your audience to what you want them to take away.
Learn from the best, to make your presentation the best.
The last type of speech is the extemporaneous. The dictionary definition states: it is made up or done without preparation. Most people consider extemporaneous or impromptu speaking as interchangeable. In the world of public speaking it is the opposite. Experience speakers will tell you that an extemporaneous speech is thoroughly planned but not memorized.
This allows a speaker when confronted with an unplanned event such as the projector failing, to deal with the event and then proceed without any problem. If during your speech an audience member raises their hand, you can answer their question and then continue.
An extemporaneous speech is carefully planned and prepared. This is also followed by extensive practice. Since the speaker is not memorizing the speech, they may try different words or phrases to capture the desired effect. During the speech the speaker may have practice one phrase or gesture then decide to use a different one.
Using a memorized or impromptu or extemporaneous speech is dependent on circumstances and personal style. The key is to experiment and find what works best.
In speaking there are three types of speeches; memorized, extemporaneous and impromptu.
With a memorized speech everything is memorized; your words, hand gestures, body movements and stage actions. At any given moment, if someone has your notes, they know exactly what you will say and how you will say it. Winston Churchill after giving a very bad speech, decided that he would always give memorized speeches. He practiced hours on his words, gestures, body movements and even his ‘mistakes’. To make your speech sound natural rather than memorized, the key point is to practice. The more you practice, the easier it becomes to look natural.
The other end of spectrum is the impromptu speech. This speech can be a twenty minute business presentation or a thirty second elevator speech. The keys to success are speaking skills, practice and knowledge. You can have the knowledge, however if your skills are lacking, everyone will know. With great speaking skills, you can fool people with your lack of knowledge, only for a short time.
Our last type of speech, extemporaneous, is in part 2.
In any speech opening, people are going to decide whether to play with their iPhone or listen to you. In the first thirty to sixty seconds of any social interactions, people make judgement decisions. Why should listening or not listening to your speech be any different?
The opening of your speech has to grab the audience. It has to make them want to invest their time in listening to your speech. You do not want to start your speech with a boring beginning. There are many techniques you can use to grab people’s attention.
You can ask a thought-provoking question. You can give a challenging statement or facts. You can hold a prop that will catch people’s attention. You can begin with a powerful personal story. The list is only limited by your imagination.
You need to look at the first sixty seconds of your speech as the hook which you then reel in the audience.
When you look at your audience, you must ask yourself, “What is important to them? What do they really need to know?” An audience will always be more concerned with what they want and need to know and not what you want to tell them.
It is a bit of our own ego that can cause us the most problems. We think that our content and methods are just what everyone needs. And the problem is that we just haven’t made it clear enough to everyone. We think if we just say it more powerfully or speak longer than everyone will understand.
This is where having advisors who will tell us what we need to hear and not what we want to hear are important. It is also important to be watching and listening to your audience reactions to help gauge how effective your message is.
Your audience always talks to you, you just have to listen!
All speakers must know the critical reason or objective for their presentation. What do you want your audience to do, say, feel, think or act upon? The better you understand your reason, the better the presentation.
You will need to explain your reason in a short sentence of 10-15 words. The ultimate goal is after you told someone that person says, “Please, tell me more!” You hear that, you are on the right track.
At the very beginning of the formation of your reasons, you should not limit yourself to how many words you put in writing. Let the ideas flow. Once you feel you have exhausted any and all possible reasons, now is the time for review. Go over all your reasons with a critical eye. Start asking yourself, “Why this reason?” Begin looking for duplicate or weak reasons. Look for the main reason and condensed it to 10-15 words.
Having a main reason is critical to any speech’s success
Whether you are speaking to a new group of business people or at your monthly business meeting, knowing what is important to your audience is extremely beneficial. This is why you need to do an audience analysis whether it is the first time or the 100th in front of your audience. Any audience analysis should always ask the 5 “W”s; who, what, where, when and why.
For example under why, you might want to answer the question: Why did they invite you to speak? Was it your expertise? Or was it your entertainment value? There is always a why. Knowing the why helps you the speaker to craft your presentation to answer this question. Digging deep into this question may lead you to understand what is really important. Many times speakers never ask themselves the why. They just assume the meeting planner decided out of the clear blue sky to put them on the meeting schedule.
Always start to analysis your audience!