Guest Author - Dianne Walker
The project you have been diligently laboring over has finally come to a conclusion. All the work has been done and it’s implementation ready. Now you must present the project, outcomes and implementation plan to your boss, his boss, her boss – on up the chain. The idea of getting up in front of all those people brings you to a screeching halt. It’s time for the dreaded presentation.
What do you say? Where do you start? How do you prepare a speech worthy of the many manpower hours you have devoted to the project? Here are 5 tips on how to write an effective speech presentation:
First, remember the beginning is not the beginning. The first item you need to tackle is not the beginning of the speech, but determine the outcome. Are you asking for funding or simply presenting the material? Do you need buy in from management or simply let them know what you will be doing. The beginning of your presentation preparation actually begins at the end – the outcome. Determining the outcome will help you to determine how to begin.
Second, look up the word “draft” in the dictionary. Do not aim for perfection on your first go around. Being too critical of yourself too early in the game will thwart your ability to complete a finished project. Resist the urge to edit on your first attempt. Your first draft should be a really rough draft of the points you want to get across.
Third, consider your audience. Will the audience consist of colleagues who understand the jargon or board members who do not understand the technical details? The language of your speech should match the majority of your audience. Talking down to or over the heads of your audience will earn you poor marks in the presentation department.
Fourth, practice is paramount You may think your presentation is perfect but no matter how perfect it looks on paper, it can still sound wooden when you present it to the audience. Practice your speech to the point where you are not looking at the paper. This does not mean to memorize your presentation word for word, but rather remember the key points. This will allow you to gauge the audience’s reaction as you progress.
Finally, relax. Save yourself from writer’s block. Stressing over the components of your speech is just asking for a case of writer’s block. Don’t wait until the night before to prepare, give yourself as much lead time as you can to prepare and mull over your speech content.
The hard work and outcome you put into a project can all come down to the presentation that goes with it. Speech writing is difficult even for the pros. By following these five tips you can prepare a speech presentation that just may help make that project a reality.