During most speeches, there is an agenda between the speaker and the audience. Speakers may want to have the audience ‘do something’ or ‘take some sort of action.’ They are going to present facts, figures and anecdotes to convince the audience on why they should. If done correctly, there will be action on the part of the audience.
On the other hand, the audience is making a decision on whether not this is something they want to do. They will take the information given and decide if this is valuable to them and their time will not be wasted. During the final second if the speaker did everything correct, the audience will say; “This speaker is absolutely correct and I need to do this!”
Some presentations have no impact on their audiences because this idea is not taken into consideration. To be successful in a presentation think of your ideas as sharp arrows shot by a bow to the bull’s eye, rather a scatter gun approach.
One potential problem for some speakers is keeping track of where they are going in their presentation. One method is using notes. These notes provide a roadmap of where to go. Of course if you accidently shuffle your notes, you may put them out of order. If the font is small, they may be hard to read. Notes have advantages and dis-advantages.
Another simple method is to use a written outline. Then memorize this outline and turn it into a mind map. As you speak you can visualize this mind map to see where you are going in your speech. Of course, making the mind map overly complex defeats your original purpose. As you speak you can mentally see your major points and pretend there is a bouncing ball going from one point to another. Your minor points can be simply just words and your bouncing ball can go from one point to another as if you were watching subtitles on a movie screen.
The key is having a simple and effective method to lead your audience.
Previously in another nugget, we wrote about doing an audience analysis on a new group of listeners. What about doing this same analysis on your monthly business meeting which you always speak at? Now analyzing your audience is always good. However if you know your audience, or more importantly an audience already knows you, you have different problems.
For example, what are you going to do or say differently to keep your audience excited and interested in hearing what you have to say? Many of us fall into a rut with how we say something. That is alright with brand new audiences but not with a group that hears you every month. We also tend to present the same basic way every time. What new techniques can we learn to have our audience look at our material from a different perspective?
Analyzing your audience whether known or unknown, is always good. It just has to be thought of differently
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!
One of the simplest ways for speakers to organize their speech involves the 3 T’s. Tell what you are going to tell them. Tell them. Tell them what you just told them.
In your opening you want to give your audience a roadmap of your speech. This beginning segment tells your audience what you are going to speak to them about. It need to be very concise, attention grabbing and gives the highlights.
The body of your speech is the meat and potatoes section. It contains your main points and the supporting sub-points. It is what your audience came to hear you speak on.
The conclusion is where you tie everything together. This is where you remind your audience what you have just told them. You need to have a call to action or powerful statement or leave them with something memorable.
Remember. Tell them what you are going to tell them. Tell them. Tell them what you told them.
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
One important responsibility for all speakers is to…know…your…subject. The more you know, the easier it is to speak. One benefit to knowledge is confidence. With confidence comes less anxiety on “what might happen”.
Everyone who speaks has the opportunity to encounter someone in the audience who wants to argue. If you know your subject, a discussion between your anxious audience member and you might entertain the rest of your audience.
Dale Carnegie once said, “Earn the right” to talk about your subject! The more you are an authority of your topic, the greater degree of being seen as the expert. Expertise equals credibility.
In today’s world, gaining knowledge is easy. One favorite way of mine is to visit a bookstore that has a coffee shop. I select a few books and skim them to find what is interesting. Then I go back spending more time on pages which interest me. All the while I am enjoying my coffee.