(Photo by Rob DiCaterino)
One of the keys to giving a great speech is to share your passion. Your passion is infectious, and your audience gets to vicariously experience your story. But if your speech isn’t well thought out, your talk may become rambling, and make your audience very frustrated. They can feel your passion. They know you have something exciting to tell them, but they can’t “get it”. And they want to. Here are some tips to keep you on-target:
- Start at the ending. What is the key one or two points you want to leave your audience with? What is your call-to-action (what you want them to do afterwards)?
- Start at the beginning. Where in the landscape of your story do you want to start? Why there? How does this starting point related to both your ending and your audience?
- Build a bridge. Scattered-brained people get distracted on their journeys – often going on a lot of side-trips that somehow turn into digressions. Stay on the highway of your talk’s focus. If you do take a side-trip, it must be informative, and come back to the highway for a good reason. Too many side trips and the audience loses the feel of the highway. There are great storytellers that can string together a number of side trips into a journey (Malcolm Gladwell, for example), but it’s a rare skill. Keep your message clear so your audience will remember your story.
- Refer to your notes. If you get nervously distracted during your talk, have some notes to remind you of the key landmarks you want to visit. Don’t do any extemporaneous speaking. It’s likely to get you in trouble.
Give your audience the gift of a clear, well-understood speech. They’ll likely want to come back to you for more information later.