What is the right kind of preparation? I have often seen students, reading an article in the newspaper, whether convinced or not convinced with the author, prepare their lecture and deliver it in the class. Does preparation mean picking up any topic and start speaking in front of an audience?
Or it is to lift a written speech from various sources, altering it and practicing on it?
Well, all these are wrong ways of preparing, in fact, tougher ways of getting ready for a speech.
Preparation is the key.
If we fail to prepare............we prepare to fail.
HOW DO WE PREPARE OUR PRESENTATION:
1) SPEECH IS BUILT
It reminds me of my college days, when I would see most of the students preparing for their examinations, by reading from various books on every single topic. Reading, writing and listening the whole year for just three hours of examination.
I also remember reading an article on Sachin Tendulkar, which mentioned a hypothetical figure that Sachin might have faced more than 60L balls since childhood. Today, his one successful square cut is the result of those 60L balls he faced during net practice and tournaments.
Similarly, a speech or your presentation cannot be cooked up in five minutes. It is built over a period of time and it grows with time.
"Rome was not built in a day." Similarly, your public speaking skills or your presentation skills cannot develop in a single day.
2) DON'T IMMITATE OTHERS
Like this article that I am writing, this is my article, my thoughts and my ideas, similarly when you are preparing your speech or presentation, the thoughts and words must be yours and not someone else's. You must gather background information and an overview of your article. You may read, you may search on Google, you may phone a friend, you can use others' ideas but just ideas, the words should be yours. Never imitate others. It should come from within. You cannot fake it. If you try to imitate others, you public speaking speech or your presentation may not be as natural as it could have been.
3) NEVER HESITATE IN DOING SOME LEG WORK
Many a times, I have experienced, when my students, just to save time, delegate someone else to search for an article. Participants join our public speaking and presentation skills course and choose the centre closest to their house. They want to save time wasted in commuting. They save time, efforts, energy but they waste their stick-to-it-iveness. Most profound speeches come from students who are not hesitant to travel from distant places or who take the pains in searching for the ideas for their speech. I remember one of our public speaking and personality development course student in 2004, she hailed from a small city Mandi, Govindgarh in Punjab about 300km away from Delhi. For every session, she took a bus the previous evening, and went to her guardian's home as she was not allowed to venture out after 7pm from her college hostel. From Chandigarh, she took a bus at 2am, reach Delhi, again, and change a couple of buses to reach our institute, in time for the 8am class. She bagged many awards and certificates, during the course. Till my last information, she was working in an MNC drawing a package of more than 15L. Determination and perseverance are omnipotent.
4) SLEEP WITH THE TOPIC; AWAKE WITH THE TOPIC
It means thinking, brooding, recalling, polishing your ideas of the public speaking topic or the presentation. Talk with your friends, your spouse and your family members. Brainstorm your ideas with them. There are many web based tools around these days that can help you in coming up with the content. It must develop and it must take time. This would add to your presentation skills.
5) WRITE 100 DISCARD 95
Now, you have a lot of material with you, lots of ideas. You have to decide, which is the best of all? Retain the best ideas and discard the rest. Don't keep those which are good, but difficult to speak on. Keep those points that convince you and are easy for you to talk upon.
6) SMALLER IS BETTER, NEVER CONFUSE WITH LOADS OF STUFF
What is the use of speaking non-stop without having any in-depth meaning? Select only four-five points out of 20 but the best four-five points.
"Be sincere; be brief; be seated". --Franklin D. Roosevelt, on speechmaking
You should be remembered for small talk instead of confusing your audience with 10-15 points
7) USING PROPS AND VISUAL AIDS
If I ask you to visualize Christianity and a Cross, what is easier to visualize? Yes! The answer is CROSS.
Why don't we use the same horse sense while preparing speeches? Use pictures, movies, objects, music etc in public speaking or presentations to make your point easy to understand. Audience forget your speech soon but the props would not let them forget it. This is called DOI, Demonstration Of Ideas.
Use these props only to further help your message; it should not become the message. Speaking with a prop is not only effective but also easy. Many times, I see my students in Presentation Skills Workshop, when given an assignment using DOI, use the prop extensively but do not let it go into the depth of the message.
8) ORGANIZE YOUR SPEECH
You have tens of ideas with you. And you have discarded the unwanted. But how to organize the remaining ideas for the best impact on audience in your public speaking project? This topic can't be explained in one paragraph. Please read my article on HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR SPEECH that will be posted soon.
In a nutshell, I would say, the middle body of the speech must have a pattern like chronological, casual, problem-solution, advantage-disadvantage etc. Point A must take you to point B, point B must take your talk to point C, so on and so forth. This transition must be smooth.
9) PRACTICE YOUR SPEECH
Now that you have prepared your speech, practice as much as you can. I remember watching an interview, 25yrs ago, by Tabbasum with the Nightingale of India, Lata Mangeshker where Lata said she practiced (riyaaz) singing even at the peak of her career for four to five hours every day.
Or let's take the example of Indian Cricket team. Recently, the world champion Team-India lost badly to Australia and everyone blamed them for not practicing at the nets.
Need I say more on the importance of practising your speech!
About Author / Additional Info:
The author Anurag Aggarwal is a public speaker and a trainer on Public Speaking, Presentation Skills and Personality Development for nearly 12 years and has conducted over three thousand workshops, trainings and seminars so far.
For more details, visit http://www.anuragaggarwal.com