Many people leave too much to chance when it comes to public speaking and then are surprised when the unexpected occurs during their public speaking event. Taking control of the task won’t eliminate all risks but it will reduce substantially the likelihood of an event occurring which could either interrupt or undermine your talk, or worse still stop it in its tracks.
I tell people that there should be no surprises whatsoever if you have prepared properly. Also, knowing that you’re in control of the event is an excellent way of reducing your natural stress levels as the event approaches.
To achieve this ‘control’, I’ve briefly touched on the areas you need to address. These are covered in detail on all our public speaking programmes
- your mental preparation
- your introduction which is your launchpad
- your knowledge of the topic
- how confident are you
- audience contracting (have you built this in?)
- topic adherence or risk of drifting
- what’s your key message & call to action
- have you hooks or grabbers to hold your audience
- is there a duplication risk
- have you profiled your audience
- have you anticipated all possible questions
- how is your timing and contingency planning
- what are your requirements and they all catered for, e.g.
- location / positioning / supports / visuals / sound / podium /
- technology or not
- have you a contingency just in case.
- how / when / who / to what level - have you built this into your talk
- engagement tactics – what’s appropriate or not
- hooks / grabbers / fireworks / work the room / stress transfer / samples
divide & conquer / statistics / quotations / stories / humour etc.
By addressing all of the above fully, you are putting yourself in full control of the event and eliminating the risk of distracting events occurring. Public speaking is challenging enough as it is – don’t make it any more difficult through lack of preparation. I hear excuses all the time from people as to why their speech or talk didn’t go well – the truth of the matter is that in most cases, it’s their own fault!!
Don’t get caught out as First Impressions Last.
Dermot Goode is the founder of www.publicspeakingtraining.ie and the SUAS (Stand Up & Speak) public speaking programmes.