f you're ever tempted to 'wing it' when you're asked to give a speech... don't! No matter how well you know your subject, you still have to meet the requirements of the audience, the people who invited you, and most importantly, your particular reason for speaking in the first place. Even if you've given the speech before, there are variables every time that make it vital that you remember the Six P's of Successful Public Speaking:
Proper preparation prevents (im)possibly poor performance.
Proper: Put in the time. Even if it's a speech you've given before, go over it carefully. Freshen it up. Add a new point of view, a funny story or special handout, something to keep yourself interested. If you get bored while you're giving it, how do you expect the audience to stay awake? Be diligent, thorough, and enthusiastic. Laziness equals sloppiness. Do your homework.
Preparation: No short cuts here. Know your subject backwards and forwards. Be ready for off-the-wall questions and challenges. Make beautifully clear visual aids, whether they're power point slides, handouts or hand puppets. Rehearse enough to be sure you're not speaking too long or too short. Know your venue, the audio/visual equipment you'll need and double check everything, including the date and time of your presentation! Be clear on what your audience wants from you. Then give them more than they expect.
Prevents: Give yourself a break. Preparing properly is like having an invisible shield to protect you. The slings and arrows of unresponsive or hostile audiences can't get through to throw you off your charted course. You won't forget anything important or be upset by the unexpected. You'll sail through from beginning to end like a ship on a smooth and sunny sea.
imPossibly: When you spend the time and effort to be properly prepared, it's impossible to fail. You're so sure of your message, your reason for being there, and the gift you want to give your audience that the idea of not succeeding never enters your mind. You've set yourself up to be a winner. Your focus is on your goal. You're already halfway there and ready to shine!
Poor: The only way to fail is not to do the work. It's really that simple. While you are choosing the message you're there to give, when you've planned it all out ahead of time, created the visuals, rehearsed the content and fitted it to your allotted time, you've made yourself the expert. You know more than anyone else in the room on this particular subject at this particular time. Whatever you say or do will be fantastic. You've guaranteed it.
Performance: This is your moment. All the hard work has been worth it. You're relaxed, purposeful and focused outward on your audience. You know exactly why you're here, how you're going to give your gift and make your message land, and what result you expect to get. You'll wow the audience with your cool confidence and expert enthusiasm. You've made it happen. You are the success you imagined yourself to be!
Proper preparation prevents (im)possibly poor performance!
Count on it!