Impatience--that feeling of frustration because results are taking longer to appear than you would like--has hurt more business speakers than most other factors.
- You're impatient because you're so busy.
- You're impatient because you don't really know what to say.
- You're impatient because you hate what you're supposed to say.
- You're impatient because you have a low self-image.
- You're impatient because others are urging you to hurry.
- You're impatient because you get incessant negative feedback from peers and bosses.
So you just want to get it over with!
Quality speaking takes time. It's just like any other skill you've developed and feel good about. Time to think, time to prepare, time to revise, time to practice, time to rehearse.
Set aside time to craft your speaking content. This is not slides. Write down a description of your audience. What do they care about and what action do they want to take that will help them?
Write down your Call-to-Action. This is the end of your speech and you write it down first. Patience here leads to huge rewards. The call-to-action is your destination. Once you know where you're going all the rest is much easier.
Decide on your three Key Points. The key points are short statements that drive to your call-to-action. They make sense in sequence. Limit yourself to 5-7 words for each key point.
Now collect your High Impact Content Mix. This is the meat of your speech or presentation, everything including stories, trends, research, pop culture, props, handouts and audience participation, questions, quotes, visuals, demos. Select a variety to precede each key point. You're upending the old concept of a theme or topic sentence, by elaborating first, then ending with the topic sentence which is your key point. This creates mystery and suspense, which is essential to keeping the audience's attention.
Now that you've got everything else, you can craft your Attention-getting Opening. Patience really pays off here. With all the work you've done, crafting the attention-getting opening is easy. Always include the audience in it. You're not thanking the introducer, telling them what you're going to tell them or introducing yourself or your company. Audiences always want to know 'what's in it for me?' so grab them with your first words.
Patience is necessary to commit to a sufficient amount of practice. My rule of thumb is ten times completely through. The emphasis is on you during practices. Hearing yourself speak, smoothing over rough spots, rearranging ideas for better flow, deciding on the use of vocal variety.
Your final step is rehearsing. You turn your attention to the audience. Imagine them listening raptly and feel yourself making eye contact with various individuals; moving close to them and among them as the space allows; being so in the moment that you register their reactions and respond to them.
Impatience costs more than the time you spend on crafting, practicing and rehearsing. Invest in patience and you'll reap the rewards many times over.
Share your experience with patience through our comment link. How did you feel? How did the audience respond?