Many business people are often faced with the need to write, prepare and give speeches from time to time. There are many circumstances in which speeches are necessary. It may be that the speech is for a marketing presentation or for a business meeting; it may be that you need to give a speech for an annual corporate report or report on a completed project. When preparing a speech, thought should be given to writing the speech, practicing delivery of the speech and deciding on the goals of the speech and how to engage your audience. Speeches and presentations are also a great way to develop an email list for followup marketing purposes and build your list of potential future customers.
There are several steps to speech preparation and actually writing a speech. First you need to decide what you are going to speak about. Usually, there is a primary goal in any speech or presentation.
There are several approaches to writing speeches. One of the most common is to write an outline. You can start an outline by noting the various highlights or points that you want to communicate to your audience. You can then flush out the meat of your speech by expanding on each of these highlights until you have the basic structure of your speech or presentation.
Some people like to use their outline as a guide to writing note cards that they use when giving their presentation. Note cards can be especially helpful because they give you a guide to keep you on point when you are giving your speech. They are also helpful to give your hands something to hold while you are talking.
Note cards and outlines can also be extremely helpful when putting together presentation slides. Each slide should highlight a particular point you are making in your speech. You can also structure slides to demonstrate or illustrate specific points. For example, you might have a slide that shows statistics that support your point. Another slide might be one that lays out specific actions that audience members should take in a given situation. Using presentation slides is also an especially effective way of keeping yourself on track while you are giving your speech and are a great alternative to note cards.
If you have given many speeches, you may be entirely comfortable with delivering the speech and need little physical preparation. However, many people experience performance anxiety when faced with giving a speech and break out in a cold sweat at the idea of talking in front of an audience. One way to address this problem and become more comfortable with your presentation is to practice giving your speech before your actual performance as part of your speech preparation process.
Once you have your speech written and your note cards or presentation slides ready, then you can begin practicing your speech. One way is to do this in front of a mirror. While it may seem silly at the time, consider dressing like you would if you were actually giving your speech. This will give you an idea of what audience members will be seeing when watching you. Try to think of what they will be looking for in your presentation and dress appropriately and accordingly.
When you practice in front of the mirror, pay attention to your hand movements and body language. If you will be speaking in front of a large audience, remember that listeners who are far back from you will not be able to see your facial expressions or small movements very easily, unless your speech will be broadcast on a large screen. If you are going to be using presentation slides, practice pointing and gesturing toward the screen to draw audience attention to specific points.
You should also practice giving your presentation out loud. One of the reasons for this approach is by listening to your speech out loud, you will be able to refine your delivery and change words that are awkward or do not flow smoothly. Also, saying your presentation out loud several times will help you become more comfortable with the material and make your delivery more natural. You will also be able to at least partially memorize the speech material, which will help you be able to engage more with your audience, rather than looking down constantly at your notes or note cards.
Another method of practicing is to practice giving your speech in front of friends and family. Be willing to listen to them critique your delivery and integrate suggestions they may have that will help you improve your delivery. Ask them to give you feedback about what message they received from your speech and what they felt as you were talking. Ask them for suggestions about better phrasing and other information that might be helpful to add in order to make your message more clear and easy to understand.
One of the key parts of giving a speech is engaging with the audience. During your presentation, make an effort to look at audience members and talk directly to them. Even if you are giving a presentation to a large audience, you can still integrate phrases and questions that will make audience members feels as if they are part of the process of communication.
Frequently, speeches and presentations are given with the purpose of evoking a specific response or action from audience members. If may be that you are giving a sales presentation and are promoting a product you want them to buy. It may be that you want them to become involved in a particular cause or group. As part of your speech writing process, you should have a summary and call to action at the end of your speech.
One of the ways to continue your message even after you have finished and completed delivering your speech is to continue contact with audience members. You can accomplish this with programs such as PresentNow. This kind of program can allow you to continue communication with your audience by sending out emails and following up on leads that may be generated through audience participation.
Many people find that audience members like to continue to communicate long after they have listened to a presentation. If you want to continue this kind of communication, you can send followup emails and offer things like prizes or discounts on your products. You can even offer additional seminars or presentations for potential customers to gain more information.
Contact software is also a wonderful way to continue to followup on leads in other ways. You may want to make followup telephone calls to get feedback from audience members and to find out about any other interests they may have in products or services you offer. You can make notes and send out additional information once you have made contact.
Another way to continue communication with potential customers who have attended a presentation is to gather contact information beyond an address, telephone number and email address. Ask for their Twitter and/or Facebook contact information and send them a message to friend or follow you. Social media is proving to be another great method of continuing communication far beyond actual face-time presentations.
Writing and preparing for a speech or presentation can be an intimidating and time consuming process. Writing your presentation requires a great deal of thought and preparation. Make sure that any presentation slides you prepare are relevant to the points you are making and illustrate highlights of your speech. Once you have your speech written and your presentation slides ready, then take the time to practice your speech until you can deliver it smoothly and comfortably in front of a small audience of friends and family. Also, carefully consider how you will continue communication and contact with audience members and gather leads for followup far beyond when you give your speech. Consider using a followup contact program such as PresentNow in order to gather lead information and help you build your email marketing list.