April 28, 2016

The "Pre-Talk Talk"

Giving a talk is not as complicated as it seems. Giving a talk that delivers a call to action and having that action realized by a need for each audience member to act is the desired outcome, regardless of what the action is. Maybe it's to get them more involved in some initiative or to better themselves by being made aware of certain "things." 
Only you know what you'd like to see happen and only you can make that a possibility. 

If you did read last week's article you should have quite a few stats and statistics to create your talk. Like any chef with culinary pride you are not just going to go out there and cook (speak to) for your audience with just the ingredients. You are going to "practice" your meal before serving. The right amount of this, a pinch of that, varying degrees of heat and a few trial runs will bring out the best of your creation. The recipe may change here and there and after a few times the recipe is committed to memory, with the help of a few glances at the recipe itself.

Speech writing is prepared the same way. You have;
  1. The ingredients are your facts and statistics that you have gathered. You need to find out which are needed for the base of your speech, the point of the talk. You do this by eliminating redundancies in your ingredients.
  2. The introduction to the speech is the presentation, setting the stage for what's to come.
  3. The body, which is the meal itself with all the "ingredients" you utilized. 
  4. The conclusion which, at the end of every meal, is the satisfaction and the need to desire more.
 Let's take the four points above starting with the introduction;
  • Streamline your facts so you have a clear head on the presentation. This is the part where you draw a crowd into the conversation.
  • Take the best from each streamlined area and make the one clear note for each of your facts.
  • Place them in a sequence that will help set the tone for what is to come.
  • Begin with the end, meaning start with your desired outcome as the focus of the introduction but give the audience "just a taste."
 The body;
  • The work you prepared for your introduction now expands for each point.
  • Don't utilize a lot of words. Remember, the best speeches are not graded on length but on substance.
  • Each segment of the body has to be a building block for subsequent points.
  • You are delivering the meal at this point.
The conclusion;
  • Summarize the hot points from the body in such a way that you create a clear call to action. 
  • What do you want the final "feeling" to be? 
  • Will the conclusion be satisfying to those who consumed your talk?
 The prep work goes to the test run;
  • You have, what you believe to be the words needed to produce your talk (the ingredients).
  • You have the speech written out (the recipe).
  • You read it out loud to a digital recorder or a video recorder (the trial test taste).
  • Play it back as if you were the audience.
  • Did you like what you heard?
  • Was it just someone reading?
  • Was there emotion on points that need to be question marked or exclamation pointed?
  • Were there slight pauses in the talk or was it just rambling to get the words out and failing to deliver a meaningful message?
Make notes on your recording making sure you look to see where you, as an audience member,  would be satisfied. Do a few more test runs, no meal comes out right the first time it was created. You need to add the right amount of certain spices to get the taste just right. The key point is this and a cautionary tale at well; not everyone has the same taste buds so you may not satisfy everyone.

After you have the introduction nailed down, the body just right and the conclusion worthy of the message itself, you have to decide if you read it to the audience or go by memory. Reading it removes your eye contact fro those who are engaged in your talk. Going by memory brings you to points where you may forget key words or even having too long of a pause to try and recapture.

Here's what the pros do;

The keep practicing the talk until they feel comfortable with every word and the pairing of degrees of passion. They then;
  • Write handwritten, or typed, notes for each segment of the speech. These notes or memory joggers should be short but help you remember your practice.
  • This helps with the memory aspect as well as maintaining eye contact.
  • Give the talk to someone they trust as the final preparation making sure that the words flow naturally and the listener feels the words as they are intended; a call to action.
You've done your prep work, bravo! The meal is now ready to serve. 
Next week, the field preparation.

submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP    

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