In my previous article I started to share with you some tips for speech preparation. You already know that you need to get to know your audience and the circumstances. You should become an expert of your topic even if you did not choose it. It is also important to prepare first the speech itself and only after the visual aids. What else can you do to prepare for your speech? Here are some more methods which have already worked for me.
4 Ask for Feedback
If you know what you want to say, everything is so clear to you, than it is time to test your speech. Ask a family member or a friend to listen to your speech and give feedback to you. You don’t need to implement all the ideas your test audience says. Just evaluate the possibility to make changes in your speech.
You can ask for feedback at any stage of the speech preparation. When I prepared for my TEDx speech, I was suggested to ask feedback for my main idea, just to see if it makes sense to others and what can be their questions. I only had the draft version of my idea, but after receiving feedback to it, I could prepare my speech according to the feedbacks. Later on we had weekly practise sessions, where we gave feedback to other speakers.
5 Record Yourself
Another way of getting feedback to your speech is to get feedback from yourself. I believe there’s nothing more powerful than seeing yourself on a video. It gives you objective feedback. You can improve your body language, notice if you do not articulate during your speech and have a full picture of yourself while you’re presenting. When I started to deliver speeches in Toastmasters, I used a lot of “ehms” and other filler words. Sometimes I heard myself saying them, other times I did not even notice. Hearing myself saying these unnecessary words or rather sounds, helped me to get rid of them.
6 Pay Attention to Your Body Language
Body language of a speech is a whole new topic, I won’t go into details now. But I have an easy-to-use trick which I do before presentations or important job interviews. If you read my post about my favourite TEDx speeches, you may remember Amy Cuddy’s speech. She proved with scientific research that certain positions changes our body. I use these power poses to relax my mind and body. Just before entering on the stage, I paid attention how I sat on the chair and after I stood up, I stood in the so called Wonder Woman position. Of course I was a little bit excited, but I could give a performance with which I am satisfied.
7 Just In Time
Everybody hates speakers who speak more than they should. Always measure how much time you need to deliver your speech, calculate also interactions with your audience if you have them. If you use slides during your speech, you can easily check the time. If you don’t, just ask a friend or a colleague to remind you the time. If you have a 20-minute-long presentation, you can ask someone to make a simple sign when you arrive to 10 minutes, 15 minutes and 18 minutes. It is also important to be flexible about what do you say. Think through what are the key elements of your speech, which you definitely want to share. What are the elements which are still important and support what you want to say, but in case of emergency (if you run out of time) could be left out.
I can’t emphasize enough to practise. I know, it takes time, especially if you need to deliver a longer speech, but it is worth it. The more you practise, the more confident you become and the more enhanced presentation you can make. You wouldn’t like to go on the stage with the draft version of your speech, would you? I usually practise more the beginning and the ending of my speech even more. First impressions are really important, so it’s worth to pay attention to the beginning. On the other hand, all’s well that ends well. Just think on a movie which didn’t end as you liked it, the ending can ruin the whole experience.
I strongly believe that if you preparing well to a presentation will give you will reach excellent results. There are thousands of methods, tips and tricks which can be used for presentations. Just like I said about time management methods, what works for others, may not work for you, but let’s give it a try. Let me know what are your methods for speech preparation. Feel free to share your experience and ideas in the comment section or contact me directly.
**Cover photo: TEDxBenedekHegy**