Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Speaking Tip: Do I make myself clear (to myself)?

I have an important speaking tip, based on a realization that I just made.

When I first started speaking, I would get really worked up.  I'd be a wreck for days before speaking.

Important Speaking Tip: Make sure your point is clear to you, or your audience will not know what to take from your talk.

In the best cases, I practiced enough, and I did GREAT.  Other times, I did not practice enough...not enough to do well, anyway.

More recently, I've been speaking often enough now that most of the time, I do a good to excellent job.  I pretty much know when I've delivered, and I know when I owe the crowd an apology.

Someone asked me to speak in his class and did not give me much notice.  This person asks me to give talks to his class occasionally, and the last "bad" talk I gave was the last time I gave a "bad" talk.

As I frantically tried to prepare for this talk, something important occurred to me.

I always do a great job...when I am clear about the message I want to communicate.

I started thinking about that last time I gave a "poor performance."  I had plenty of material, but I was unprepared.  I was only prepared to give them information--not deliver a clear message.

So, of course, they were confused and wondered what they were supposed to "get" from listening to me for 1-1/2 hours.

All of the information in the world is useless if it is not clear how it applies.  There is lots of information in the newspapers every day that get tossed, because people don't know how to take advantage of them.  It's not the newspapers' fault; that's not their business.

As speakers, it IS our fault.  That IS our business.  (If we aren't benefiting our audience, why are we up there?)  We need to provide information ONLY when it helps us DELIVER OUR MESSAGE.  (Everything else is just confusing them, even if they understand our info, they'll miss our point.)

I realized this as I started to make the same mistake preparing for this upcoming talk.  I was providing information--not education.

Only time will tell whether this helps me do a "better job" for this group--this time.

Lesson Learned: The best talks have a clear message.

Are you clear about your message?

You can only educate your audience if you are clear about the message you want them to receive.  (If they get NOTHING ELSE, they'll get your point.)

If you're a speaker, do you have any important speaking tips?

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