When you have to do a speech or presentation, there are several steps to success. You will need to ensure that your work is to the highest standards possible. It doesn’t matter which sector or industry you work in; sometimes you will just need to do a speech or presentation. With that in mind, here is how you can prepare for a speech or presentation.
Understand Your Topic
The first thing that you will need to do is to fully immerse yourself in your topic. You want to make sure that you know all of the ins and outs of whatever you are going to be talking about. If you are going to write the best possible speech or presentation, then you need to know a lot about what you will be talking about. This might be easy for you if it is something that you have been working closely with or on for a long time. However, it is always making sure that you haven’t missed anything. Once you feel like you fully understand your chosen topic, then you can start to craft your speech or presentation.
Write The Speech or Presentation
This is going to be the longest part of the process. You need to write the speech or presentation. There are plenty of online resources to help you do the actual writing and aid you making your speech as best as possible, so you look those up. However, as some core principles, you want to make sure that it is engaging, factually correct and conveys your points. You don’t want to fill your presentation with anything that doesn’t 100% need to be there. Unless you stay fully on topic, then you are going to start to lose people, and you will fail in the purpose of your speech or presentation.
You want to make sure that you are engaged with your audience and that they are listening to you all the time. This might be through the language or inflections that you use when you are talking, or it might be through how interesting and intriguing your content is. You need to find a way to make your speech or presentation engaging and interesting to the people watching and listening to you.
You want to make sure that you are always factually correct. This is why understanding your topic is so important. You need to ensure that you get everything right in your speech or presentation and that you aren’t wrong about facts or figures. Not only is it embarrassing to be wrong, but it could also damage your business's reputation.
You need to make sure that you convey your meaning throughout your speech. This will be down to what message you want to get across and how clear you are with your language. This ties in with the above two points about being factually correct and engaging. The entire point of your presentation or speech is to convey a specific message, if you can’t do that, then you have wasted your time. Think carefully as to what your speech or presentation is about and then make sure that you have clearly gotten across your message.
Prepare Visual Aids
Visual aids can be a great help to ensuring that you complete your aims with your speech or presentation. Having a PowerPoint presentation or handouts can help people to fully understand what you mean by backing up your words with a visual aid. When creating a PowerPoint presentation, it can be tempting to throw in a lot of transitions, text flying across the screen and other kinds of animations. However, you want to keep things simple. Firstly, because it can take a long time to add these things. Secondly, because they are not the reason people are there. They can be nice additions, but they can also be unnecessary and take away from your speech or presentation. If people are distracted by these, then they can miss what you are saying. The same is true for handouts. They can help, but keeping things simple is key.
Prepare Flashcards or Remember Your Speech or Presentation
You want to make sure that you remember all of your presentation and speech when it comes time to do it. This is where preparation flashcards can be helpful. On these, you can have reminders about points you have planned to cover as well as important information such as facts or figures that you don’t want to get wrong. You might instead try to remember the entire speech or presentation verbatim, but this can take more time than you have. However, each will be suited to different people.
Practice makes perfect. This is an important part of practicing for your speech. You might want to practice in the place where you will be doing your speech or presentation. That might not be possible, but if it is, then you should take advantage of the fact. You might want to practice at home or work, and if there are any podiums for sale, then you can even practice on one of those. When practicing, make sure that you aren't doing it to an empty room - at least not all of the time. If you practice in front of people, then they can give you feedback and help you to improve. If you practice to nobody, then you only have yourself to critique your speech or presentation.
Finally, you want to stay calm. If you aren’t used to doing speeches and presentations, then they might make you nervous. However, through staying calm, you will be able to perform to the best of your abilities. Getting anxious and nervous is natural, but do not let it conquer you. Instead, you need to remember all of your planning and preparation. All of the practice and your Powerpoint. Each of these will help you feel confident in your ability to perform your speech or presentation. If you have filled prepared and practiced, then you will be able to give an excellent speech or presentation and should have no reason to feel nervous.
Featured Image from Shutterstock / By YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV