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.
How do you take the ideas that are free floating in your mind and turn them into a solid well-constructed speech? Simple…the Post-It note.
I like to take my ideas and write them on individual Post-It notes and then put these notes on a wall. I make sure that there is only one idea per Post-It note. I go one step further by putting my major ideas on one colored note and the supporting ideas on different colors. I arrange the notes as if I was playing Solitaire with the major idea on top and the supporting ideas underneath.
After brainstorming for a while, I step back and just spend time looking at how everything flows. I can then rearrange, delete or add ideas to make the speech flow smoothly and with a clear purpose. Of course the length of the speech dictates the number of ideas that can be used.
The Post-It note, a speaker’s salvation.
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
Your book! Your business card!
One great way to add credibility to you as a speaker is writing a book. Instead of being a speaker, you are now an author who happens to speak on your expertise. Even being a business person, a book gives you the label as an expert.
You do not have to write a book the size of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. All of us have enough knowledge in our business lives, that a simple pocket book would be sufficient. As they say, “It is not the size that matters, but the content!”
Start by spending 15 minutes each day or 2 hours a week to write a series of 150-200 word essays. In a year’s time you have the makings of a book. Look for someone who can edit your writings, followed by graphic designer for the cover. Then decide if you want to self-publish. Voila, you have a book!
Left or Right where will I take them!
What makes comedy routines funny is quite simple. The comedic by his routine has the audience expecting one punch line but at the last second gives them a different punch line. In Hollywood, major film directors do something very similar all the time. You are watching a film expecting the ending to be a standard version A and then you see a totally unexpected ending version B. This will cause most people to remember the entire film, be it good or bad.
All speech writers could use that same approach in the writing of their speeches. One great benefit that you can give to an audience is when you approach a subject from a different point of view. There are the standard approaches to a particular subject that everyone expects. Of course, this in turn automatically causes people to think a certain way. However, if you approach the subject from a different or very unusual way, most audiences are forced to stop and rethink that subject. They still may come to the same conclusion but you have forced them to reevaluate their stance. There is an old saying: “Who you are is because of what you know. You change what you know. You change who you are.”
I believe that when you start thinking about different approaches to your speech, you start to learn more about your topic. This forces you to do more research and gather more information. As you gain more in-depth perspective, this may even change your approach to the subject matter. An unusual approach can, at the very least, give an exciting and an informative time for your audience. It will also make you a better and more accomplished speaker. This is maybe the reason why you are reading this blog!