Photo by R e t o
You’ve just been asked to give a speech for an upcoming event. How do you prepare to give the speech for maximum benefit? You start by asking yourself these 3 questions.
What is it you want from your speech? Besides giving a speech that everyone loves, what are your underlying goals for giving the speech? Is it to get booked for other speaking opportunities, sell your latest video or book, get over a fear of public speaking, or impress someone? These goals can be as selfish as you wish. For example, if you’re trying to sell something, you’ll want to refer to it in your talk. Or, if you’re trying to look good for a publicity video, you’ll want to ensure that you’re comfortable talking into microphone.
What is it you want your audience to get from the speech? What specific piece of knowledge are you trying to impart? If you can’t concisely state this goal in a sentence (or two), then you don’t have a coherent message to share. Don’t assume your audience will figure out what you’re trying to share, or fall back and say, “everyone will get something from my speech”. If you can’t concisely articulate your message, how will you be able to tell if you’ve succeeded? By figuring out your clear message, you’ll be able to create both a powerful title and abstract for your speech that sets the stage for your presentation.
What is it you want the organizer to get from the speech? Speakers often forget to incorporate the organizer’s needs into their speech planning. Questions to ask the organizer: Is my speech part of a larger event? From the audience’s perspective, what will come before and after my speech (how can you smoothly transition to what came before to what follows)? What topics will other speakers be covering (you don’t want to repeat, but you may wish to echo their message)? What is the experience you want your attendees to get from the “larger” event? By incorporating the organizer into your goals, you’ll be making the organizer look good, which will later be helpful in getting referrals and future bookings.
When building your speech, refer to these 3 questions often. If you’re not satisfying these three goals, then rewrite you speech to incorporate them. As a speaker, you want to present a clear message, easily repeated, that creates synergy with your audience.