Professional speakers say a well-prepared, carefully drafted presentation can reduce your anxiety at the podium by as much as 75%. Unfortunately, many people do not know where to begin. They feel intimidated at the thought of organizing what seem to be massive amounts of material and data. Overwhelmed, they put it off until the latest possible moment and then rush around frantically trying to throw their talk together. This panicked scenario is not conducive to professional advancement. But it can easily be avoided if you follow these 4 simple steps. Follow these steps before beginning to write:
1. Learn about your audience. Ask your host to clue you in to local customs, people, places and events. Sprinkle these references though out your talk. You audience will be touched that you made the effort to tailor the talk to them. If speaking abroad, open with a few words of gratitude in the local language (properly pronounced, of course)
2. Adapt your speech to the time of day. If you are one of many speakers on a day long program, pay careful attention to when you will be presenting. If you’re first, your audience will be most attentive and awake. You’ll be setting the tone for the day. If you are after lunch, the audience is likely to be drowsy. Keep the energy high and don’t turn the lights off to show visual aids. Your audience may fall asleep! If you are last, prepare to shorten your speech if the event is running behind schedule.
3. Brainstorm. Get all your thoughts down on paper. Censor nothing. This frees your mind, gets your juices flowing, breaks procrastination and propels you into action.
4. Determine exactly how much you will need to write. The average person speaks comfortably at about 150 words per minute. This means a 20 minute speech will contain approximately 3,000 words on 10-12 typewritten, double-spaced pages.Now begin writing!
Studies show audiences will remember only 10 percent of what they hear so keep it simple. You don’t have to tell them everything you know about the subject. Simply choose several key points and back them up with lots of examples and illustrations. If you’re speaking for an hour or less, make no more than 3 key points