Prepping is key to increasing your impact!
No room for improvisation!
Do not try to memorize your speech!
You need to be natural when delivering your speech. If you try to memorize the entire thing you are most likely to be monotone. You will also focus on what is coming next which will provide you with making eye contact with your audience. Yet, eye contact is essential!
You might think that you do not have to memorize your speech and that you can write the whole thing and present it with your sheet of paper in front of you. That is also a mistake. Indeed, you will hide behind it. It will once again provide you with making eye contact.
Then, what do we do?
My advice is to have notes in front of you (on note cards or a PowerPoint). Notes will help you reduce the stress about forgetting something because the main ideas will be written on them. That way, you will be able to make eye contact. You are not delivering a speech in front of a wall; your audience needs to feel that you are talking to them.
Some people think that they will lose credibility and professionalism with notes. I disagree. Many successful motivational speakers, journalists, and politicians use notes. Indeed, politicians do not always write their speeches so they need notes but you get the idea!
Practice practice and practice!
You are ready; well you have outlined everything. To reduce your stress but also to show more professionalism and credibility you need to practice your speech. It might seem stupid but it is very important. I know you think you know your speech; you wrote it after all. But it is one thing to know it in your head and it is another one to deliver it. You can practice in front of your partner, your friends, your cat; it does not matter as long as you practice it out load several times!
You can also do some speech exercises. It is important to have a good presentation but it is also important that your audience understands you!
Murphy’s Law: “Everything that can happen will happen”
You outlined everything, you have your notes, maybe you have a PowerPoint, and you practiced; you are ready! Except…! We cannot know the future, and something you have not planned can happen. It is called Murphy’s Law. And believe me, it happens more often than you think: a PowerPoint that does not want to load, a power shutdown, an update on the computer… Do not panic, you just need to keep in mind that something like this can happen and have a plan B and C.
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