In this particular article, we are going to let you know about 4 key questions you must ask yourself before giving any presentation or speech in front of the audience.Once you have got the answers of these 4 questions you are all the way up to face the audience confidently and flawlessly.
QUESTION 1. WHY AM I GIVING THIS SPEECH/PRESENTATION?
No one asks you to speak in public without having a good reason.
It might be because you’re an expert in your field.
It might be because you have experienced something that you can convey to an audience.
It might be because you’re part of a campaign or charitable organisation.
Or it might be because the person asking you thinks you are one of the above.
The very first thing you need to do is to stop and think about why you’ve been asked.
If you can’t answer that question, you may not be the right person to talk and you should bail out right now, before you waste any more time.
I was once asked to give a presentation about the importance of PR to independent production companies. I was asked because I was then head of PR for a large production group. I didn’t research my audience well enough and when I arrived, I discovered they were all tiny companies – one-man bands – and there was no way they could afford an in-house PR. The fault was partly that of the organisers – but I should have done the research. I had to rejig my presentation quickly so that I could say something that would be relevant to the audience.
QUESTION 2. WHO AM I TALKING TO?
Even if you are the right person, talking about the right subject, there is still one potential stumbling block.
Are you talking to the right people?
Actually, stop there and rewind.
What we should be asking is whether you’re pitching the speech at the right level for the audience you’ve got.
If not, it’s not the wrong audience, it’s the wrong speech. In other words, it’s your fault.
The most finely crafted speech, delivered in the clearest style, with the wittiest gags and the most stylish visual backup, will be as dull as ditch water if you’ve pitched it wrongly.
Here is a check list of question regarding the things you must know about your audience.
Don;t forget to check this list before facing the audience.
A young advertising executive was asked to talk about effective communication. The event was a trade conference and delegates ranged hugely in age and status. The executive based his entire presentation on children’s television of the 1970s. The programmes and advertisements had communicated so effectively with him that they had always stayed with him. Delegates of the same age were amused and gripped by his speech. The older delegates had some idea what he was talking about, although they were usually at work when these programmes were shown. The younger delegates had no idea what he was going on about. They didn’t identify with him, they were bored and they got nothing out of the session. He was probably not the right person to speak about effective communication!
QUESTION 3. AM I RELEVANT ?
If you were asked to talk to schoolchildren about road safety, you would probably keep the information to the bare essentials.
You might take them into the playground and demonstrate how to cross the road or how to use a pelican crossing.
A talk to their parents about the same issue would be much more hard hitting.
The audience would probably stay indoors, sitting down, and you might discuss specific accident blackspots in the area, while debating what improvements could be made.
Get these round the wrong way and the children would be bored and frightened, while the adults would feel silly and patronised.
A talk to local policemen, again about road safety, would be different altogether.
You would probably be even more specific, more hard hitting and you would use more statistics and examples.
You would also need to tell the policemen how to educate the children and parents of the area.
Coincidentally, the policemen may also be parents but, in this context, they are expecting a professional and businesslike approach.
Find out what the audience expects of you – always tailor your speech to the right context and never patronise your audience!
DO AN INTERNET SEARCH TOO.
Most larger companies now have their own websites, including recent press releases, financial information, etc. By reading this, you’ll be able to find out their current priorities.
If you don’t know their web address (otherwise known as a URL), try guessing! It’s not as daft as it might sound.
Try typing www.[nameofcompany].co.uk or www.[nameofcompany].com.
For example, if you wanted to find out about Tesco, you would type ‘www.tesco.com’. And you would be right! If that doesn’t work, try to track it down through one of the search engines, such as www.google.com or www.yahoo.co.uk . URL (Universal Resource Locator) is a web address. Usually looks like this: www.nameofcompany.co.uk or www.nameofcompany.com. http:// You sometimes see these symbols at the beginning of a web address. They simply tell the computer that the address is for a web page. The letters ‘http’ actually stand for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, which is the method the internet uses to send web pages.
QUESTION 4. WHAT AM I TRYING TO ACHIEVE ?
You know why they’ve asked you and you know who you’re talking to.
Now we can really get to work. I’ll be referring to this section right through this website, so you might as well concentrate while you’re here.
What do you want to achieve from this speech?
To help you answer, let’s break it down into two elements:
1. What’s my Objective?
2. What do I want the End Result to be?
At first, these might seem to be the same, but let’s have a closer look:
There are several possible objectives for a speech, but they usually fall into one of the following:
● to inform
● to prompt an action
● to provoke emotion
● to entertain
● to promote discussion
If you are asked to speak at a wedding, you will be expected to entertain.
You will be speaking to friends and family, to whom you would normally speak informally, even though a wedding is a fairly formal occasion.
If you are so incensed about road safety in your area that you decide to set up an action group, you will need to inspire other parents to join you.
Your presentation to them must make them share your anger and prompt them to do something about it.
A presentation to your board of directors about sales figures for the last quarter will mainly need to inform.
The information itself should be enough. Forget jokes and emotional declarations.
But if those sales figures were poor, you’ll have to inspire the sales team, when you get back to the office.
You might need to scold or cajole the team – probably a bit of both.
This will be much more informal and personal and with much more emotion.
Imagine you’ve delivered your speech.
Everything’s gone really well and members of the opposite sex are falling at your feet with admiration for your immense speaking talents.
What should happen next?
(Apart from picking out the cutest of your new fans and taking them for a drink, I mean.)
Do you want the audience to do something?
Do you want them to apply their new-found knowledge?
Your Objective might be a bit airy-fairy, but your End Result should get down to specifics.
If you have the End Result clear in your mind, you will be more likely to achieve it.
Objective: To inspire fellow parents to join me in a fight for road safety improvements in the village.
End Result: The parents will sign my petition and write to the council. They will be inspired enough to come to another meeting next week. If I had simply worked out my Objective, I’d have some idea where I was going. But I’d have no way of knowing exactly how to pitch it, nor could I measure how successful the speech was because I hadn’t worked out the End Result.