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So – You Have to Give a Speech!

by | Mar 30, 2010

Aaaagh… you’ve been asked to give a speech and now you’re speechless. The myth: It’s hard to give a speech. The reality: It’s hard to start and it’s hard to shut up. The rest is in your comfort zone. I promise.

Follow these tips and you’ll volunteer for every speaking opportunity coming your way. Even better, you will sell your image, your widget, and your service with confidence.

1. Stick to your area of expertise. You will speak with enthusiasm and energy about subjects you know and have earned the right to talk about via your educational background and experiences.
2. Style is being yourself, on purpose. You don’t have to be Barak Obama, or the perfect orator you admire. You need to be you – using best practices to get your unique message conveyed. There are ways to maximize your style without compromising your sense of self.
3. Know the answers to these questions before you design your message: Who is your audience? What’s in it for them? What do they already know? How long do I have to speak?

1. Even the worst speech is salvaged by having a good beginning and ending. Yet these 2 sections are missing most of the time!
2. Start with a story, startling statistic, a neat quote, or a question relating to your topic. Then say something specifically about your audience so that they know you know who they are. Following that – state the purpose of your presentation. Then, tell them your “Value, Guarantee, Benefit Statement” – the answers to question #3 in the Content section.
3. End with your fantastic conclusion: A summary of your main points, and a “Call for Action” – challenge your audience to do, feel, or think differently as a result of your phenomenal message.
4. In between your start and finish will be your three main categories. The good, bad, and the ugly. Content, Organization, Delivery. Techniques, Timing, Treatment. You don’t have to cut off your feet to fit into a short bed. You can still say all that you want. Just categorize your info. It’s easier for you to remember and for your audience to retain.
5. Support your main points with stories, anecdotes, humor, analogies, metaphors, and, of course, your info!

It can be nerve wracking to give that speech. It’s natural to have a degree of nervousness. In fact, nervousness begets enthusiasm, and without it, you would be “blah.” The trick is to channel your nerves in a positive direction.

To have just a degree of nervousness you need practice, preparation, and a positive mental attitude. Think about your message, your agenda, and your audience’s happy outcome.
I challenge you to say something worth saying, say it in a way that your audience can remember the information, and say it with pizzazz!

© Karen Cortell Reisman, M.S.


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