Inspiring. Confident. Humorous. Motivational. Honest. Engaging. Powerful.
These words are used to describe great speeches. If you are preparing to give a presentation or a speech, you'll need to hone your speaking skills before that day comes. Follow this easy recipe for great delivery.
It includes five simple things great speakers always do: SPEAK.
1. (S)eek a clear direction for your speech. Your speech must have a focus. You won't get lost in your words if you stay moving toward your destination. That means you'll have to decide where you are going. What's the purpose? What do you want your audience to take away? Without a cohesive message, the members of your audience will be twiddling their thumbs, confused, in mid-snooze, or who knows what. Chances are that if they don't know where you're going, after a while they won't be listening to you.
2. (P)repare, prepare, prepare. Good preparation means knowing your audience and writing your speech for the specific group you will be addressing. You've got to make sure each person in your audience can find something to which he or she can relate. Good preparation also includes knowing your subject matter inside and out. If you need to do some research, get to it. Lastly, common sense says good preparation means good practice. Good practice leads to great practice, which leads to a perfect speech.
3. (E)ntertain their hearts out. Good speeches often tell a story and evoke strong emotions. Many great speakers know how to successfully use humor to their advantage. Just think about your favorite comedian. That person is often mindful of who's in the audience and how to best deliver that well-planned punch line. Speeches don't always have to be chock-full of jokes, though. But your speech should take the crowd on an exciting ride and hold its attention. And if you could even move your audience to tears, that speech will surely be a memorable one.
4. (A)ccept the current circumstances and move on. Great speakers know how to roll with the punches. Are you speaking at a big event, at which things aren't going as planned? Is that audience a bit bigger than it was supposed to be? Did you stumble a bit over that last line? Don't sweat it. If you act like it didn't happen, the members of your audience might not even notice. And if they do, that's life. If you are sweating, that's OK. Nerves are a part of the gig. But eventually you have to get a grip and keep going. Be strong and keep it moving.
5. (K)eep it real. So you've heard that honesty is the best policy, right? Well, it is so true. You want to stay true to yourself. If it means admitting you're nervous, that can actually work to calm you down. Most important, you want to speak from a place where you're comfortable. And if you are pretending to be someone you're not, that's a sure-fire recipe for a speech catastrophe. Make sure that whatever you say, you stay true to your values and your message. Stay true to your voice.
Becoming a legendary orator doesn't just happen overnight. But you can become a great speaker if you continue to SPEAK.