Deliver a more powerful, on-point speech.
In the business world, delivering eloquent speeches is an absolute must-have skill to practice and meditate on. Even if you aren’t the person giving them all the time, you may one day be tasked with training someone else to do them.
This is also especially important if you are an “officially” professed public relations person. You will be required to train your organization or clients to handle a variety of interview mediums including live television, video production, radio, telephone and informal, in-person segments.
Here are eight ways to take your speech writing and delivery process to the next level:
1.) Know Your Audience
The first and most important item to consider is your audience.
Unfortunately this is where people immediately fail. At the beginning of their processes, they neglect to understand who they’re going to be speaking to. This is often results in disasters where either the audience is completely disengaged or just plain offended.
Do your due diligence. Are they Millenials? Baby Boomers? Information focused? Best engaged by entertainment? You should know.
2.) Know Your Environment
Knowing your environment is vital. It’s composed of several factors including time, place, equipment and occasion.
- You have to understand when you’re delivering your speech. For instance, maybe you’re giving it after lunch time. In this case, you’ll want to put together an energetic message that wakes your audience up. Prepare for your time.
- The place is also important. Where exactly are you? How can you tie in the city, the building and other location factors into your speech?
- Equipment is often disregarded to great misfortune. You want to know if there will be a microphone available, powerpoint capabilities (and how the adapters work) and lighting. You also want to know how to work the equipment or have someone prepared to help you.
- Lastly, the occasion must be considered. You won’t want to crack some crude jokes at a religious or somber function. You also don’t want to bore your audience to death at a celebratory event.
3.) Pick a Theme
With your research in mind, it’s time to ask yourself, “What will tie my speech together?”
Your theme is the package that holds all of your elements together. It’s what you rely on to remember your message and to keep your audience engaged. Again, make sure it’s relevant to your audience and occasion.
4.) Use Artifacts
Artifacts are powerful symbols that drive your messages home with energy. True artifacts turn an excellent address into an unforgettable ceremony.
The best example I’ve ever seen came from public relations professional Brian Price. When he was the PRSSA 2013-2014 National President, he was charged with the farewell address for the National Committee–his 15-person team that served the 11,000-plus members of PRSSA–in front of a few hundred members and professionals.
There was a lot he wanted to express about the incredibly productive and successful year his team had. Instead of trying to explain it all with words alone, he utilized an artifact that made the entire room gasp in awe.
His National Committee submitted reports each and every month for a year. Brian printed these all off–in single-spaced, twelve-point font–and stitched them together.
When it was time to talk about accomplishments, he paused and rolled this document out in front of the audience. The people in that room will never, ever forget it.
5.) Don’t Betray Your Audience
There are two ways to betray your audience: going over time and going off topic.
It’s simple, don’t do either.
Practicing is a must for smooth delivery.
Not only will it familiarize you with the contents and actions of your speech, but it will also help you work out the bugs and stay on time.
7.) Be Very Aware of Your Body
- Be conscious of what your arms, legs and body are doing
- Don’t lean into the podium
- Don’t pace like an anxious lion
- Make sure every action is intended
8.) Calm the Nerves
You probably knew this part was coming.
Yes, the human race fears public speaking worse than death. I’ve found, however, that conquering nerves is a matter of practice and perspective.
You need to practice speaking, especially if it makes you nervous. Go to a toastmasters or speech class and do whatever it takes to get quality face time. It’s different for everyone, but at a certain point, you may find that your nervousness just vanishes.
Finally, a lot of people think their audience wants them to fail and this is the source of their anxieties. Understand one thing: your audience doesn’t want you to fail.
They want you to nail it.