Chapter 3: Developing Compelling Presentations
More Tips on Developing Your Conclusion:
- Your eye contact should be powerful at the close of your speech. Never read your close verbatim, just refer to an outline for brief phrases.
- Close your speech by summarizing the points that you covered in the body of your speech—never introduce new information.
- Leave your audience with something memorable.
- Invest time in your final remarks because that's your last time to make an impression on your audience.
- If possible, tie your conclusion to your introduction. For example, if you opened with an anecdote, mention that person when you close. Look for ways to develop a cohesive unit within the three sections of your speech
Bringing It All Together
This chapter focused on what you need to develop a compelling speech. Essentially, we discussed three areas, the body of the speech or overall content, the opening, and the close.
To recap, here are 10 things you need to do to ensure your speech rocks the room:
- Be heartfelt: If you don't believe what you're saying in your speech you shouldn't say it. Giving a speech is not like performing a monologue.
Don't approach it like you would an acting gig, talk from your heart.
- Clarify and cover at least two or three objectives for your speech. Think about what you want your audience to know or do as a result of hearing you speak and work toward that goal.
More importantly, think about the things that you can say to serve your listeners. Focus on your audience—not yourself.
- Write it down: There are a couple of ways to approach your speech but you need to at least have some form of it on paper or index cards.
Some people write out their speech word for word and others just put bullet points on 3x5 index cards. No matter which method you use, you should rehearse your speech frequently so you don't have to read your speech but have committed it to memory.
- Stay in the moment: Whether you're crafting your speech, practicing it, or actually delivering it, it's important that you completely focus on whatever activity you're working on.
When the pressure is on, it's easy to become scattered, anxious, or frustrated but you have a better chance of success if you stay on task.
- Know your audience: Earlier we discussed the importance of understanding your audience demographics but also know how they believe you can best service them.
Find out who will be sitting in your audience, the purpose for their attendance, and what problems you can help them solve.
- Evaluate room setup: Check out the room where you'll be presenting your speech well in advance.
Make sure the audio/visual equipment is in working condition and determine whether the room temperature needs to be adjusted.
- Be natural: Don't try to imitate another person. You'll do a better job by being yourself. Also, plan to direct your talk to the crowd not your visual aids or anywhere else.
- Nix the zero words: "Ums" and "ahs" provide no informational value to your talk and they can keep your audience from really listening to what you have to say.
Instead of inserting these distractions in your speech, stop and pause, then proceed to speak. This may help you improve.
Also, practice saying your speech in front of a mirror or with friends. And don't try to memorize your speech verbatim because that will increase your anxiety and cause you more mistakes.
- Get personal: By sharing your personal stories with your audience you show them that you're like them and you can relate.
People also learn from your mistakes or mishaps and will feel more comfortable sharing their own tales. All of this builds trust and will make it easier for you to speak to them.
They'll also be more eager to listen to you.
- Close your speech with a bang: Now that you've reeled them in with a powerful opening and maintained their interest during the bulk of your talk, you need to reinforce your message and complete your mission by leaving with a strong finish.
At first glance, it may be a little overwhelming to think about all the things you need to do to prepare the speech and you haven't even delivered it yet.
Take heart, you've completed much of the groundwork, now it's time to add the finishing touches.