Editor's note: This article is the third in a series on preparing and presenting the perfect speech. If you have questions or comments regarding this series of articles, join in on our inc.com discussions area.
How do I polish it?
Once you assemble your notes and write a draft of your speech (or you may prefer to speak your ideas into a tape recorder), you still have more work to do before delivering your speech. Read your draft over to confirm that it is:
Vigorous polishing makes your talk tighter, more powerful, and less likely to bore or irritate your audience.
How do I rehearse?
You've edited and fine-tuned a written version of your talk. Now you're going to practice it. (You may think this is too much trouble, but you'll be glad you did.)
Now you're nearly ready to do your talk. You have one more task. Am I done writing now? No. Write your own introduction and bring a printed copy to your talk. Even if you're speaking for free, you want the emcee to pronounce your name right, mention your company's name, and tell people how to get in touch with you. You want all attention on you, so you don't need an introducer who rambles on or tells tired jokes.
If you're not sure what to say about yourself, use your ré sumé as a guide, customized to fit your topic. If you've earned or been honored with impressive designations or awards, let the introducer say so. But don't include your job as a lifeguard in your intro unless it directly relates to your subject. Don't leave anything to chance. If you're working on a stage, explain to the introducer that you'll come on stage from the wings before he/she leaves the lectern. The introducer needs to get off the stage before the audience stops applauding.
This way, the audience looks at you instead of the emcee. You've taken center stage -- now take it away!
Read the rest of this series:
Patricia Fripp is a San Francisco-based executive speech coach and professional speaker on change, teamwork, customer service,promoting business, and communication skills. She isthe author of Make It, So You Don't Have to Fake It and Get What You Want! Fripp also served as president of the National Speakers Association. She can be contacted via e-mail, at 800-634-3035, or through her Web site Fripp.com.
Copyright © 2000 Patricia Fripp