Ever wonder why the best in the business are so successful when addressing an audience? Is it their message? How about their delivery? In truth, it is both of these components.
While you may have an excellent message, without a dynamic delivery, your message will not be heard. Likewise, you may regale your audience with color and passion as you speak, but if your words have no value, your message is non-existent.
Successful public speaking needs a strong delivery as well as a strong message – a message tailored to satisfy the needs of your listeners.
Planning your topic with a specific purpose in mind – to sell, to convince, to persuade, to inform, to motivate, and/or to act – is your 1st objective when creating your material. This is where your head comes into the picture in which you outline what you plan to say by means of blocks of information. Your opening is one block. Your development will consist of anywhere between 2 and 5 sub-topics, each of which is its own block. And, your closing is the final block.
Once you have a basic layout of your ‘blocks,’ you should begin practicing it out loud, block by block, and, at the same time, refine, change, add, and delete. Your goal is to hone your script.
When you are comfortable with your outline, record yourself as you practice your presentation, preferably by means of a video recorder, and then study the playback. Your video recorder is a fantastic tool because of what you can learn in watching yourself. [It would also be most beneficial if you could have friends or family members as your audience. When I teach presentation skills privately, I place large stuffed animals in chairs throughout my studio which also works quite well!]
Take note of whether you are making eye contact with your audience. Are you speaking with emotion, with life, with animation? This is where your heart comes into the picture because you need to address your audience with passion. If you are not passionate about your message, why would you expect your audience to be? To sell, persuade, convince, motivate, or even just to inform, you must express yourself with emotion which will be:
1. seen in your facial expression and body language; and,
2. heard in the vocal variety of your voice.
Public speaking is not a performance – it is the art of communicating orally with an audience. And, reading your presentation or delivering a memorized script does not allow for that type of communication because you are not interacting with your audience. Instead you are talking at them.
Know your material well; let your passion be seen and heard; and, you will captivate your listeners with both your head and your heart.