I have been teaching Public Speaking for a few years now and I have been training a number of trainers. I still learn almost every day.
I have certainly learnt that it is a lot about using body parts that are placed lower than your throat. Your heart, for instance. This is because Public Speaking is a lot about being passionate. Passionate about the topic, the event, about being able to make a difference. It is also about truly developing a bond with your audience, even if it is for a few minutes. Mind you, the relationship with your audience members should have started long before the speech itself. You should have collected, analyzed, and adapted audience-related data. You see, it is not all about you, what you like, what you prefer, and what you dislike. It is about your serving audience’s needs, wants, and interests.
As a speaker, you are challenged to deliver exceptional value. Think of your audience as the corporate world. Participants or trainees are probably all thinking “What’s in it for me?” You absolutely want to work on that from scratch.
A few questions you need to start with are: What do my audience members really want and expect? Try to pass around a survey or at least talk to the registered attendees before the speech (Something aligned with “collect requirements” in Project Management and that is really key to the success of a project).
Make the scope of your speech clear to the party hiring you, and ask them for feedback. Now, how do you prepare a speech for which you will gain recognition?
How can you trigger attention, keep the audience interested, and be remembered?
How can you reach that “Wow” moment?
For one, your research needs to be impeccable: People nowadays are exposed to so much information that to be informative, you really need to go the extra mile and beyond. Read as many sources as you can -credible ones, of course-. If they are books, read the reviews; make notes that you can understand a week later, and corroborate the information. Corroborate again. Do not go for the avalanche of information, though. Quality matters more than quantity. Keep up to speed with trends and innovations. Make it a habit to read daily digests and newsletters, and make note of the points you deem noteworthy. Even if you have the most expensive and high-tech laptop on earth, do invest in a notebook that you can transport everywhere. I sincerely feel lost without mine.
Once you have enough material, start working on a powerful storyline. Storytelling is just potent. Most adults love stories. Besides, you can use it for just about any topic on earth.
Please read part two on this same blog.
The author, Radhia Benalia, PMP is Deputy General Manager at CMCS , and a professional with proven track record in public speaking , and public speaking and soft skill training. As her skills spilled over other aspects of her life, she was nominated in 2009 as the candidate chosen to run for the party in office, British Columbia, Canada.