Introduction: Presenting a speech
In this article I’m talking about presenting a speech to an audience.
It’s a question that comes up a lot when I am teaching or mentoring students one to one.
They often say to me they’re going to speak at least at one of these events:
- Small conference
Some people get extremely nervous when it comes to public speaking, causing it to become one of their greatest fears.
For some people it is the fear of failure or even the fear of standing up and public speaking.
Let’s look at ways we can overcome these fears and best prepare you for presenting a speech. Regardless if its for personal or professional environments.
Four things jump out straight away in preparation that you can implement immediately when thinking about presenting a speech. These questions should help you best get prepared mentally.
- Firstly sit down and actually visualise what the speech will look like and how it will feel.
- Think about the intention behind it?
- How do you want to feel when you come away from that speech?
- And how do you want your audience to feel?
Start to go into it and take yourself on a visual journey. Actually, walk through it in your mind scene by scene the speech you are about to give.
The message here is that one of the best ways to experience something is to first internalise it.
And as a communicator you want to get a sense of where you might:
- Clam up?
- Where do I get tense?
- When do I start to feel a bit nervous?
If you are aware of these in advance, you can then expect and overcome them when it comes time to speak publicly for real.
Outside of the mental preparation, you need to sit down and map out the speech. Consider the following questions to help you practically be better prepared:
- Is it a formal presentation?
- Do you need slides?
- How many slides?
- What do you want to get across?
So hopefully you get the message in this first section. To not only present a speech, but become a master public speaker – Preparation is absolutely essential
Presenting a speech: Know your outcome
In order to nail your speech, you want to get to the root of what you’re trying to achieve. In my communication system, I describe this as – knowing your outcome. For example, are you:
- Talking at a social event?
- Speaking at a professional event, a funeral, wedding?
- Presenting on behalf of yourself, your business, your company or somebody else?
- Being brought in as an expert?
- Speaking at a guest event, a charity event?
If yes to any of the above, then you want to ask yourself an important question – What outcome do you want to achieve?
To help you answer this question, let’s work backwards and answer the following questions.
- When you complete your speech how do you want to feel?
- How do you want it to look?
- What is the outcome that you want to achieve from it?
- Do you want to sell them something?
- Get them to sign up for something?
- Do you want to inform them?
- Do you want them to visit your website?
- Give money to your business?
The list can go on, as there are so many different outcomes.
So when you’re presenting a speech, always think about the end before you start the whole presentation. A key to this is defining your outcome.
Call to Action!
Tied closely to your outcome, is ensuring you explain to your audience exactly what they need to do next.
Imagine you’ve walked off stage or you’ve finished the meeting – What is their next action?
You’ve finished – What happens next?
Do you simply walk off stage and that is that?
Or do you want them to take action?
Let’s look at the reasons you may be presenting from our previous section and align some common actions you may want to consider:
- Talking at a social event? – You instruct everyone to connect with someone they haven’t met before.
- Speaking at a professional event, a funeral, wedding? – You ask people to take your business card, pay their respects to the close family, raise their glasses to the bride and groom.
- Presenting on behalf of yourself, your business, your company or somebody else? Purchase the product immediately after the presentation to lock in any bonuses.
- Being brought in as an expert? To send you an email with one thing you’ve learned and one question.
- Speaking at a guest event, a charity event? To make a donation.
You can see that ‘their next step’ could be as simple as raising a glass or as complex as making a purchase. But you cannot expect someone to guess what to do next. Don’t leave anything to chance. Ensure you have a strong call to action with explicit instructions.
Having a clear end goal really keeps our focus on how to get that speech across.
The final underestimated tip, I have in helping you improve your speech presenting skills is vocal power. Specifically answering the question – How do you want to vocalise your speech?
In my Communication System I have two core components which work hand in hand – vocal power and practice.
You can practice your vocals in the shower, when you’re driving or in front of your spouse. Wherever you choose to practice is up to you. But the important point here is, I want you to start to really internalise and then externalise the feeling of the words. This you’ll note is an important distinction between just saying a word vs feeling the words coming from deep within.
I personally do this even when I’m preparing something short. For example, if I’m producing a 2-5 minute piece for social media, I’ll go through in my mind what’s the message I want to get across the vocalise it.
The more you go through it, the more you vocalise it, the more your body will get used to it.
You will feel a lot more confident when you actually stand in front of the audience and present your speech. You’ll feel like you’ve done this before.
If you begin to work on these alone you’ll see improvements in anything you do when it comes to speaking in public.
I’ve shared with you four key areas to get working on immediately to help you with your public speaking. Specifically in the area of presenting a speech:
- Mentally prepare
- Know your outcome
- Have a call to action
Public speaking has been a skill I have honed for over 30 years now and I still do these fundamental steps. Whether I am speaking at my Property Courses, Seekardo Podcast, Communicating With Impact events or as a guest speaker – It’s always the same level of speech prep. I hope you knowing this encourages you to do the same level of work required to improve your communication skills.