The Secret to Learning a Speech or Presentation

daniel-novta-5336855585_97a1ba3837_bFor most people when they learn a speech or presentation they learn it as they expect to say it,  i. e.  beginning at the start and reading through it to the end.  This is definitely a good way to learn a speech but there is one big problem with this method. You usually end up knowing the first half of the speech better than the second half. This is because when we make a mistakes we typically go back to the beginning of the speech and start again. The other problem with learning it in such a linear way is that if you go blank in the middle of the actual presentation,  it can be difficult to work out what to say next.

The way to solve this is called “Chunking” and it involves breaking your speech or presentation into smaller chunks of text. The trick is to learn each chunk of text individually i.e. as if each is a mini-speech and you don’t even have to learn them in any particular order, the key is to ensure that you know each chunk equally well  before learning all the chunks together.

There are a number of advantages to this method:

  1. Your delivery is consistent – you know every part of your presentation equally well thus you can present each chunk with passion and confidence.
  2. End with impact – Audiences don’t really remember most of what you say but they usually remember what you say last so it’s important to end strongly and with impact. By learning your speech in chunks then you know your ending as well as your opening, this gives you the extra confidence to punch home your message with a strong authoritative conclusion.
  3. Going blank – if for some reason you do go blank in the middle of  your presentation then it’s not a disaster, because you won’t have to go back to the start, there’s no need to panic, all you need to do is calmly move on to the next chunk and continue the presentation.

 

If you enjoyed this post then why not try more of our presentation tips:

 

Image: Daniel Novta

Inspirational American Leaders

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Our next meeting falls on the same day as the US Elections but instead of talking politics we’re going to dedicate our meeting to the theme of Inspirational American Leaders as most great leaders have also been great speakers and after all, the only reason to give a speech is to change the world….

Brian will be our Inspirational leader and our world changers will be Leah, Kevn and Jean Marie, we’ll have an icebreaker speech from our newest member Leah, Kevin will tell a spooky story and Jean Marie will give tips on tackling table topics then we’ll have the chance to put those tips into action during Jag’s table topics session.

See you there!

When: 7.30pm, Tuesday 8th Novemebrr

Where: The Lantern Centre, 17 Synge St (click here to see a map)

To sign up or see the agenda of the meeting, click here

3 Steps to Writing a Great Speech

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Step 1: Your Audience

Before you start to write your speech or presentation think about who you will be speaking to, do they know anything about your topic? How do they feel about it? Do they even care?

It’s important to remember that giving a speech or presentation is not about you, it’s about your audience. You must be able to pitch your presentation at the right level for them, too technical and they’ll be confused, too easy and they’ll get bored.

To get an audience to listen to you you need to be able to answer the questions they’ll be asking in their heads:

  • Why should I care?
  • How will this affect me?
  • How will it benefit me?

Once you can answer these questions in your speech then every audience will love you.

 

 

Step 2: First Draft

With all this in mind write your first draft.

This is not about perfection. This is simply about getting all your ideas down on paper and this achieves two things:

  1. You’ve moved from the state of inaction where you are agonising over the right way to begin to a state of action and progress, this is a great place to be.
  2. No matter what else you do, you have achieved something and more than that it gives you something to work on and improve.

Once you’ve finished writing the first draft done say it out loud.

This helps greatly because what looks good written down doesn’t always sound good when you say it. For instance your sentences could be too long, there may be some words or sentences that are hard to say or sound wrong.

As you’re speaking it out loud, you will also notice parts of your speech that you will want to change, make quick notes of the changes as you find them and continue saying the speech.

Once you’ve finished, start on draft 2.

 

Step 3: Drafts 2 to X

Continue the cycle of writing the speech and then speaking it out loud. Each draft will require less and less changes. Keep this cycle going until you either reach a version that you are happy with or it is time to give the presentation.

Another advantage of this cycle of writing and speaking is that it’s also a form of practising, it gives you the chance to learn the flow and language of your speech

It’s important that as you write each draft to keep checking that your speech is still being pitched at the audience’s level and addressing their needs. As you write always ask: “Will my audience get this?”

 

Following these three steps will ensure that you always write a speech that people will want to listen to.

 

If you enjoyed this post then why not try more of our presentation tips:

 

Image: EcoVirtual (Flickr)

17 Great Ways to Improve Your Presentations

Not only do we have encouraging, empowering and fun meetings we also share some of the best articles on speaking and presenting on our Facebook page.

To see what you’ve been missing, here is a selection of some the articles we found over the last few months:

Speaking Nerves

 

Public Speaking

 

Speech Writing

 

Storytelling

Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date with Cogito Toastmasters Dublin and see more great tips on public speaking and presentations.

Conquer Your Fear with Toasmasters

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Does the idea of standing up and speaking in front of a group of people terrify you?
Yeah, me too.
So it’s only fitting that the theme of our next meeting is “Conquer Your Fear” because that’s what Toastmasters is about, it’s about creating a comfortable environment where you can learn to deal with your speaking nerves and gain the confidence to present in front of an audience.
To help you conquer your fear of speaking and presenting, Jean-Marie will give an educational called “Controlling Your Fear”, not only that but we’ll have our usual impromptu speaking section as well as speeches from Carmen, Miao and Michael.
Cogito Toastmasters Dublin
Time: 7.30pm
Date: Tuesday 11th October
Place: The Lantern Centre, Synge St, Dublin 8
(with free parking)
For more details of our meeting click here.

Image: Symphony of Love/Kate Ter Haar

What We Can Learn About Presenting From TED Talks

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Let’s try an experiment.

  1. Go to TED.com
  2. Choose one of the many talks on the homepage.
  3. Watch it.
  4. If you find yourself losing interest, select one of the six videos in the “Related Talks” section and go to step 3.
  5. Once you’re finished the video, select one of the six videos in the “Related Talks” section and go to step 3.

Keep doing this for a 30 minutes or an hour. And then answer the following questions:

 

How many videos did you watch from beginning to end?
If you’re anything like me then you wouldn’t have watched all of them to the end. When I tried this I spent several hours looking at TED videos and of the 30 or 40 that I watched, I probably only finished 4 or 5 of them.

 

What made you switch to the next one?
It’s easy to say that it was because the subject wasn’t interesting but that is rarely the case because we all know speakers who can make even the driest and dullest topics sizzle and sparkle.

The real answer is that you lost interest for a number of reasons, including:

  • It didn’t grab your attention at the start
  • The opening grabbed your attention but the rest of it didn’t live up to the promise of the opening
  • The speaker treated it as a lecture not as a conversation
  • It wasn’t accessible, the speaker used technical terms and language that you didn’t understand.
  • The speaker spoke in a dull monotonous tone

Look at some of the videos you didn’t finish again and try to identify what it was that made you want to change to a different video.

This is the first lesson that we can learn from TED: how not to present

Sometimes it can be difficult to recognise that we make these mistakes as well. To find out either ask a colleague or friend to give you feedback or else record your presentation and watch it back.

 

What made you want to finish some videos?

Look at the videos again:

  • How did the speaker grab your attention?
  • What methods did they use to keep you interested?
  • Did they speak in a language that you understood?
  • Did their passion and excitement for the topic intrigue and excite you?

This is our second lesson: learning from success.

 

Next time you’re writing a speech or presentation, look at how your favourite TED speakers present and try to use some of their methods to engage your audience.

 

If you enjoyed this post then why not try more of our presentation tips:

 

First published at Geek Speaking
Image: Steve Jurvetson (Flickr)

Making Dreams Come True

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What are your goals? What are your ambitions?

Our next meeting is all about goal setting, bring your ideas, your ambitions and your dreams, and in the meeting Michelle will show you how to set clear goals and how to plan to achieve them.

Not only that but John will be giving his second speech and Kevin and Jean-Marie will be practising their speeches for the Area Humorous Speech contest..

The meeting begins at 7.30pm in the Lantern Centre so come along and maybe we can help you reach your goal of becoming a better speaker and presenter.

For more details of our meeting click here.

Cogito Toastmasters Dublin
Image: Symphony of Love/John Haro