speech hater hints
few things are more daunting than the prospect of public speaking 


Communication skills in general and public-speaking in particular top nearly every company’s wish of executive attributes — or for those who seek to grow their own business. 

Giving a speech isn’t rocket science, but it is a lot more than just talking about what you know.


1st — think the whole process through 
Know that you want to make the speech & why
Decide on the information that should be in your speech and the tone of your remarks by knowing:

  • who’s asking you to speak & why?

  • who is your audience?

  • what’s in it for your company?

  • what’s in it for you? - the last question is important, if for no other reason than the preparation time required. (The average 20-minute speech requires 20-40 hours prep time.)  The payoff should be worth your time investment


2nd — prepare an outline

open  - tell them what you are going to tell them

  • KISS IT  keep it short & simple

  • a brief phrase or sentence captures the central speech theme/thesis

  • supplies an answer for anyone who heard your speech & asks about it

body - tell them

  • organize information that logically supports your thesis with 3-4 arguments

close - tell them what you told them

  • recap thesis

  • call to action - motivate & inspire audience for the challenge you leave them

  • complete the circle — link your close to your opening comment


3rd — remember, speeches are written for the ear not the eye
language needs to be conversational & straightforward - use

  • short sentences, punchy phrases are livelier — make it easier for the speaker to follow written text with an occasional glance at the page
  • active voice & vivid language
  • contractions
  • personal pronouns
  • familiar, shorter words
  • effective anecdotes — real-life or fictional — make a lasting impression
  • cadence — like great music leaves the audience humming your 
    words.  e.g. Martin Luther King.
    I have a dream …
  • avoid clichés & jargon
  • humor can add value — use with extreme care

4th — familiarity reduces fear

  • preparation is the time-honored antidote to stage fright
  • do a run-through at a podium or in front of a mirror
  • visit the room where you will be speaking beforehand
  • check the audiovisual system
  • practice, practice, practice

©1996 Patricia (Trish) Green
Trish Green, Presentation Skills Specialist based in Toronto,  works with business professionals to enhance the effectiveness of their presentations. 

A polished speaker, columnist, publisher of t'greetings, an electronic newsletter for business presenters. A business communications consultant with 20 years experience in communications, customer relations & human resource training.

email  [email protected]      www.trishgreen.com


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