Preparation is the key to your success in giving powerful and impactful speeches.
Can you truly say that you put in the time to prepare when you’re asked to speak?
Here’s the problem when you don’t…
When you’re not prepared, it’s obvious to the audience when you’re on stage. It’s obvious when you’re rambling without a purpose or a message. It’s obvious when the power point slides accidentally lock and you freeze because they’re your “crutch”.
Not being prepared is also disrespectful to your audience. You need to show up because they showed up to see you.
Preparation is in the practice. It’s in the time you spend preparing to give the most impactful presentations you possibly can.
Here’s a personal example showing why preparation is important.
2 years ago I was giving a Keynote talk at the Employee Benefits Adviser (EBA) Benefits Renaissance. About 10 minutes into the talk my power point slides stopped working. For the unprepared, this is the nightmare scenario. However, because I had spent hours preparing for the 30-minute talk, I was able to continue on with the presentation without missing a beat.
Speaking is a privilege, not a right. Show respect by putting in the time to do it well.
Here are 3 things you NEED to start doing to make sure you’re prepared to give the presentation of your life.
- Figure out what your audience wants to hear, not what you want to say. What do they want to learn? Your message has to resonate with them. It’s about them, not you. It’s easy to figure out what the audience wants when you ask the question to those who hired you to speak.
- Outline your talk. Outline the stories you want to share. Outline the problems your audience is challenged with today. Outline the takeaways you want the audience to leave with so your presentation is remembered long after it’s over.
- Practice! You MUST block time to practice your presentation. You cannot just get up on stage and “wing it”. Remember, it’s obvious when you do. Rely on your practice, not your power point slides. It’s the message coming out of your mouth, not the images and words on the screen.
Speaking is like being a professional athlete. No athlete has ever made it to the highest level in his or her sport without putting in the time to perfect his or her craft. Your presentations are no different.
Put in the time. Put in the effort. Reward your audience with your preparation!