2.09.2009

Got Cold Feet? 7.25 Ways To Prepare An Impactful Speech

Written by Jesse Muhammad

If you have been marketing yourself or your business properly so far this year, you may have received a phone call that you wanted, but froze when you received it: The Call to Give a Speech!

You may have said to yourself "oh noooo, I'm not ready!", "I didn't think it would happen this fast", or maybe even said "I'm going to come up with an excuse to get out of it. How about the 24-hour flu?"

But of course I know I'm not talking about YOU. (smile)

Trust me, even the greatest orators can experience some form of nervousness but nothing can give you confidence like preparing your speech. If you had the chance to read my previous post titled Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking, this one will dig deeper into No. 2 on that list.

Here are 7.5 Steps:

Step 1: Ask the group that is hosting you if there is a time limit for your speech. If they don't give you one, don't try to deliver the Gettysburg Address. Prepare a short, informative and impactful speech.

Step 2:
Do you know who you are addressing? Ask as many questions as possible about the audience you will be speaking to. For example, I just recently spoke at a school in Florida. Before the assembly, I had the principal to brief me on the top issues at the school and community. This was key in me being able to reach my audience. If you can't speak the language of the audience, you will be talking to the walls.

Step 3: Type out a nice introduction of yourself but avoid reading off your entire resume. Who really cares? (smile) Rather extract experiences from your life that will cater to your audience. This will break the ice and immediately draw them into the rest of your speech.

Step 4: Organize and type your bullet points. If the event has a theme, try to just have up to five key points to address the theme. If you need to type the entire speech out by all means do so. WARNING: If you are going to just stand before your audience and read to them 90 percent of your speech, they might as well turn on C-Span. And if you have a mundane tone, reading becomes like telling a bedtime story to your child. Don't get in the comfort zone of reading.

Step 5: Spice up your speech! Connect your talk to local, national or international affairs so your audience can see their connectivity to the world around them. Soak up information so you can add interesting statistics that they may not have heard or may not have thought of in the way you present them. Don't think like a speaker, think like a servant. Be creative when selecting examples, punchlines, and quotes. Pull out visuals if you need to.

Step 6: Read your speech out loud to yourself. Then re-read and edit it several times. If you come across bullet points that you know will not connect with your audience, just delete them. Avoid redundancy. Select the most important points. Remember there is no sin in throwing in a joke here and there if you like. You want to be yourself not someone else.

Step 7: Practice your delivery in front of some friends that will give you some serious critique not just say "man, that's good". But don't practice to the point that you frighten yourself. Once you feel you have it down, just look forward to the big day.

Step 7.25:
Have fun and smile alot.