Making your message sing…

 

Marsh Wren, Hill Road Marsh, Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge, California

I worked for many years for a union of performers. Voice performers. Video game performers. Film and television performers. Stunt performers. Actors.

Spending time with professional performers taught me a lot (and not just how to project). They are listeners, observers of life. And they are also professionals who know how to rehearse and prepare.

In my experience, performers ask a lot of questions. They take the time to really digest what you are giving them. And when I’m conducting media training or communications sessions I often share those lessons with clients.

First: watch and listen.

If you want to know how to give a great speech, it’s worth spending some time thinking about what it is that YOU love about a speech. Think about a speech that really grabbed you. What was it about that moment that really made you sit up and pay attention? What connected with you? And then picture yourself giving that speech.

Second: prepare, prepare, prepare.

There are many components to giving a great speech, or presentation.

But one of the keys is old-fashioned preparation. To start, here are a few things you should consider when preparing for a speaking engagement:

Know your purpose

First, you need to know WHY you are speaking. Literally. What is it you are hoping to achieve and what is expected of you.

Know your room

Who is your audience? What is their interest and experience?

And don’t forget the specifics: where will you be standing/sitting? How will the audience be seated? Will you have a microphone? Will there be questions from the floor?

Know your content

Think about how you process information best. How comfortable are you with the content of your speech? Will you be able to answer questions about it? Do you have to? Keep it simple.

Know yourSELF

It sounds cheesy but you need to get to know your speaking style, and spend some time observing yourself. Practice in front of a mirror, out loud. Even better, check out a video of a speech you gave previously. Or record yourself.

Are you pausing to breath? What are your hands doing? Then try using different techniques. You’ll get a sense of what works best for you – bullet points, cards, full speaking notes? Even better, ask a friend or colleague to watch with you.

I hate watching clips of myself, but sometimes I just have to put myself through the torture to learn and improve. If you need some more tips on public speaking, debating or speaking to media get in touch!

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