Public speaking is at the heart of how we impact the world around us. Many times in our life we will be called to speak in public. The occasion may be sad, joyous, work related or an opportunity to talk about a subject we care really care about.
Public Speaking Starts With Your Preparation
“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”
Public speaking gives us a chance to show a better version of ourselves. We can prepare the speech, take time to think about it and finally practice it. The key to making an impact with your audience is to leave them better informed and more importantly engaged with the subject you have spoken about. Preparation is the key to great public speaking and here are some pointers to help in your preparation.
Understand Your Objectives
If you do not know what you want to achieve with your speech, how can you expect an audience to know? Before you write your speech, write down your objectives. Ideally you should be able to do this in less then three lines. There is no room for ambiguity in your objectives; a child should be able to understand your stated objectives.
When you write your speech, review it to make sure it meets your objectives. Test it out on somebody and ask them what they thought you were trying to say. If they fail to clearly understand your objectives, redo it. Only when your speech clearly achieves your stated objectives are you ready to deliver it.
Tell Your Story
Over the years I have listened to more than my fair share of speeches. As an experienced toastmaster I have had to evaluate many speeches and judge competitions. The best speakers are those that tell a personal story to support their speech. Stories are a way to make your audience interested in your content. All our personal stories are unique and thus as an audience we learn something new.
Public speaking is about engaging your audience and nothing does this more than storytelling. We love stories and the better the story the more we listen. Start your speech with a good story and you will immediately engage your audience. I have never heard a speech that would not benefit from a good relevant story.
Stick To The Point
It is not enough to have objectives you must stick to the point you are trying to make. Public speaking is about delivering your message in a concise, timely manner. I once heard a speech that had a great story, but the speaker so long took to tell it I was bored by the end of the speech. Stick to your point and value your audience’s time even if you don’t value your own.
Use A Clear Structure
Every speech has a structure, usually it consists of a beginning, middle and end. There are however more complex ways to structure a speech depending on the topic. The key is to use a structure that makes sense for your subject. Use your structure and don’t deviate from it, your audience needs to be able to understand what you are trying to say.
If your speech lacks a structure your audience will feel confused. Thus you need to make sure your structure supports your point, meets your objectives and is easy to follow.
Show Your Passion
Public speaking is about engaging with your audience. Nothing engages an audience more than eliciting an emotional reaction. Demonstrating passion for your subject is infectious and will help connect with your audience on an emotional basis.
Public Speaking Is About Being Different
“Imagination decides everything.”
The best public speakers try to imagine the world not as it is but how it can be. They inspire their audience to change and are not interested in rehashing the ideas of others. The best speakers bring their own personality and passion to the subject. They have something they want to say and feel it is worth hearing. It is this passion and creativity with the subject matter that makes their audience remember the point long after they have left the room.