300 Seconds and 7 Steps to Writing Your Speech

The wrong thing for you to do is to immediately start writing the speech. Yet that is the strongest impulse you will feel. Fight that urge and instead think about what you want to accomplish. Ask yourself the following important questions and then start sketching out your speech. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it goes when you follow this process.

1. Be Prepared
The Scout motto applies to speech making. Always be prepared to deliver a speech by having stories, examples and anecdotes ready to use. When you experience things that might help you relate your message think about how you might use that story in a future presentation. Read the news, listen to customers and observe life and you will always have available material.

2. What is Your Key Message?
Decide on the message that you want to present to this group. Do you what to congratulate them on their accomplishments? Do you want to guide them on the road ahead? Do you want to simply reminisce? Pick one message.
Write your key message in one sentence and in plain language. That will help you be clear on what you want to say and keep you on track as you write the rest of your presentation. That sentence might even be a key part of your speech.

3. Write Your Closing Statement
This step might surprise you. After you write your key message decide how you want to close your speech. Your close could be more important than your opening so write it first. What’s the line that you want to end on that will hammer home your message?

If your message is an inspirational one you might end your speech with a quotation: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" If you are soliciting volunteers try, "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."If you do not remember who said it or you get the words wrong - just say you are paraphrasing.

4. Build the Body of Your Presentation
After you have your close, develop the supporting points that form the body. List five points that support your message. After you have five, examine them and pick the best three. That way you will have three strong points for your speech. Use statistics or an anecdote to illustrate each point. Make the anecdote funny or reach the audience in a personal way. Your audience needs this to absorb, understand and remember each of your points.

5. Create Your Speech Opening
Finally, develop your opening. Use the fewest sentences to grab their attention with a challenge, question, bold fact, analogy or quotation. One technique, which ties everything together, is to open and close with the same statement. Let people know where you stand on this issue and what your message is.

6. Review and Tweak
Review your draft speech and make adjustments. You might want to change the order of your points. Rewrite your notes on an index card but just write the key words - in large print so it’s easy for you to read.

7. Ready, Set, Go
Ready? While you are being introduced, take a deep breath, look confident, smile and walk to centre stage. Wait for everyone's attention, pause a moment to survey the audience - acknowledge their presence, collect your thoughts and speak.

When you know your topic it’s only a matter of being focused on your message. Do that and you will write your speech faster, be more focused and deliver it stronger.

© George Torok is the Speech Coach for Executives. He helps business leaders deliver million dollar presentations. Presentation skills training and presentation skills coaching
For free presentation skills tips visit http://www.Torok.com For presentation coaching and training visit http://www.SpeechCoachforExecutives.com

Presentation Skills Articles
Executive Speech Coach Articles

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives

Power Presentations Tip 42: Beware the Fatal Presentation Sin

What destroys many presentations?

Not respecting time.

Don't make the mistake of believing that your time is more valuable than the collective time of your audience.

A presentation is an exchange of value. You deliver your message. The audience in return gives you their collective time. The audience doesn't want your time. They place little or no value on that. It's your message that's of value to them. That's the only reason they are willing to give up something so precious to them - their own time.

If you want your audience to see value in your message, respect the value of their time.

How can you demonstrate the value of their time?

Show up early for your presentation. Check out the room and equipment. Don't arrive at the last minute, rush in and then complain that things aren't set the way you wanted.

Be well prepared for your presentation. Never tell the audience that you are not really prepared - even if it's true.

Place a small travel clock where you can see it while speaking. Glance at it every few minutes to track your progress.

When it's time to start - start. Don't wait a few more minutes for more to arrive. Respect the time of those who showed up on time. They already demonstrated that they respect time. The late ones are showing disrespect for the group.

Be prepared to shorten your presentation to fit the changing agenda. Remember it's not your time they value - it's your message.

Just because you were told that you would have a 60 minute time slot - don't count on getting 60 minutes to speak. Why? Because plans and circumstances change. Be prepared and flexible to change your presentation. Be willing to leave something out.

Your audience doesn't need to hear everything that you want to say. If you were told to prepare a 60 minute speech, be prepared to deliver it in 50, 45 or 34 minutes. Even if you get your full 60 minutes - be sure to finish in 58 minutes. Never go over time.

Never leave your important point till the end. You might not get to state it.

Show your respect for time and the audience will be more willing to respect your message.

George Torok
Click here to register
For more frequent short tips follow me on Twitter

Tell me how this tip helps you.

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.Share/Save/Bookmark

Ooh Ooh - What now?

What do you do when things go wrong during your presentation?

Things will go wrong. Remember Murphy's law. And the more you depend on technology for your presentation - the more likely things will go wrong.

Microphones screech, lights blow and computers sometimes act like teenagers. And it's all a plot to make you look bad. At least you might feel that way at the time.

What should you do?

First pause, breathe and smile. Every one will be amazed at your apparent composure.

Appear to be in control - even if you don't feel that way.

Then deliver your line.

That line doesn't need to be clever or funny - but people will usually laugh because they will think that you are so clever that you were calm and the line will relieve their tension.

After Ronald Reagan was shot, he said to his wife, "Honey I forgot to duck." It relieved her tension. Reagan was a master at delivering a line on cue. That's why he was called "the great communicator. He had been an actor so he was almost always prepared with a key line.

You can learn from that.

Always have a line ready to use in case you need it.

There you are on stage and the equipment is sabotaging your presentation. What do you say? Never blame anyone or anything. Remember to smile.

I suggest that you memorize a small collection of lines from movies, TV or entertainment that might fit some future presentation disaster.

Here are a few suggestions:

"Houston, we have a problem."

"Scotty, beam me out of here."

"Resistance is futile."

Or twist a common expression:

"Well, that computer is shovel ready."

The next time that you watch a movie look for lines that you can use in your presentations - when thing go wrong.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives
Presentaton Skills Training for Sales Teams

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.


Top 10 Tips on How to Open Your Speech

You have a few seconds to engage your audience at the beginning of your presentation. What should you do to ensure a successful opening to your speech? How can you start your speech with greater success?

Imagine that you are at NASA mission control. The launch countdown echoes in your ears: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - Speak! When the space shuttle blasts off, those first few seconds of lift are critical. It is a tiny portion of the total journey, yet if anyone errors during these few seconds the mission will crash and burn. The opening to your speech is equally important to your success as a presenter.

If you stumble during your opening or deliver a weak and confusing opening then you might have lost your audience already. They left the room and you don’t know it. Your presentation will fail.

The mission of the opening to your presentation is to:
1. Grab their interest
2. Establish rapport
3. Introduce your topic

What can you do during those opening seconds and minutes to ensure a powerful launch of your next presentation?

Here are 10 techniques you can use to launch your speech more successfully.

10. Startling statement
Use a bold attention-grabbing statement - with facts, statistics or unusual information. "The greatest fear is to speak in public. The second greatest fear is to die."

9. Suspense/ Surprise
Start with a suspense-building sentence or take them in one direction then hit them with surprise. "It was a dark and stormy night - it was my wedding night."

8. Story/Anecdote
Tell a short story. Start your presentation with a personal story. Place your audience into the story visually and emotionally.

7. Quotation
Use a quotation that taps into the credibility and power of the person who stated those words. "I have a dream, cried out Martin Luther King Jr." Quote from people well known and well liked by your audience.

6. Challenging Question
All good conversations start with a good question and all good presentation should feel like a conversation. Pose a good question at the beginning of your presentation and you will engage your audience. It might be a rhetorical question.

5. Compliment Your Audience
But be sincere. Don't say, "You are the most beautiful audience I have ever seen." Instead say something that impressed you about the group, “I am very impressed with the hospitality shown to me by you today. This lives up to the reputation I have heard about your community work.”

4. The Occasion
Comment on the occasion - especially if it is an anniversary or awards night. "To speak to you on your 10th annual awards dinner is an honor." Or reveal some tidbit about the group that outsiders would not normally know. "Happy Birthday to your founding president." This takes a little research on your part and is well worth it.

3. Prop or Visual
Grab the attention of your audience and set the mood with a funny hat, costume or stuffed animal. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), would blow a cloud of smoke on stage before he made his entrance. He usually got a laugh before he spoke. You might roll a ball across the stage or play with a yo-yo. What you do before you speak can be powerful.

2. Previous speaker
Pick up on something a previous speaker said or did - especially if that was the president or chairman of the board. Build on what they said. It shows that you listened and lends you more credibility especially if your message agrees with the boss.

1. Engage the audience
Ask a question that requires the audience to answer, or one that is sure to make them think and laugh. "How many of you saw the disaster movie Cat Woman? - - Who wishes you didn’t?

5 Bonus tips for opening your presentation:

  • Avoid boring openings like "My topic is..." or "Today I am going to talk about..."
  • Never start with an apology. "I'm sorry we are running late." "I'm sorry the president couldn't be here." "I'm sorry about the meal."
  • Take your position on stage and pause for at least 5 seconds before you speak.
  • Smile while you first look around the audience.
  • Encourage your audience to laugh. You'll feel better and they will like you.

Use any one of these 10 tips to open your speech and you will grab the attention of your audience. You’ll be on your way to a more powerful opening and more productive and profitable presentation.

© George Torok is the Presentation Skills Expert. He helps business leaders deliver million dollar presentations. For more free tips on how to deliver your speech visit http://www.SpeechCoachforExecutives.com Arrange presentation skills training for your team and presentation coaching for your executives with George Torok by calling 905-335-1997

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.

Professionaly Speaking TV

George Torok interview with Randall Craig, the host of Professionally Speaking TV

View and listen to this 51 minute interview about the business of professional speaking.
The sound is not quite in sync with the video but it is still a good and informative interview if you want to build a career as a professional speaker.

George Torok
Professional Speaker

Discover how to become a professional speaker

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives

How to Speak & Present Without Notes

Why would you want to speak without notes? Because you will look more confident and knowledgeable about your topic. You will hold the attention and respect of your audience as they recognize that you know your topic well.

A presenter that keeps checking his notes looks like he didn’t prepare or he doesn’t know the material well. That can damage your credibility with the audience. Imagine how badly the audience might feel when you read your presentation from sheets of paper or worse, your PowerPoint slides. Arrggh!

Speaking without notes is something that you do every day. Every time you have a conversation you are speaking without notes. So you know that you can do it.

Let’s discover how you can speak without notes while delivering a presentation to an audience. It’s simple and effective when you know how.

Naturally, the first thing you must do is to know your topic well. The knowledge must be in your brain.

Here are three techniques that you can use to deliver your presentation without notes or at least fewer notes.

1. Key Word Notes
The most common technique is to use point form notes. The key words serve to remind you of the sequence and the points that you plan to cover. While delivering the presentation you are simply filling in the blanks between the key words. You can do this because you know your material well and you rehearsed well. The challenge is to distill your presentation down to a few key words. Write those key words on a small piece of paper or better yet an index card that you refer to while speaking. Imagine getting a 30 minute presentation summarized in about seven key words.

2. Questions
The second technique is to prepare your presentation as a series of rhetorical questions that you pose then answer. The questions could be the most common questions about your business. You’ve heard and answered those questions many times so you can certainly talk about them. Asking yourself a specific question is also an effective way of drawing out the information from your memory.

A variation of this technique is to pose questions to your audience. Listen to their responses and then add your comments to fill in the gaps. This is also the most unpredictable method because you can’t anticipate the direction of the questions.

Both of these variations on using questions will make your presentation appear more like a conversation. Therefore you will look more confident and knowledgeable.

3. Props
The third technique to speaking without notes is to use props. Lay the props out on a table in the order that you plan to address them. The props could be products, tools and/or toys. You could even use colored pieces of paper, books and correspondence. The props replace your notes. They serve as a visual cue to you and add the show-and-tell flavor to your presentation.

You can deliver your presentation without notes. There’s no need to memorize it. Know your material and use these techniques and aids to speak without notes.

© George Torok is the Speech Coach for Executives. He offers presentation skills coaching and presentation skills training. Get your free Presentation Tips at http://www.Torok.com To arrange for presentation coaching or presentation training call 905-335-1997

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.