You have two options when it comes to preparing for a speech. You can choose the chaotic, frantic approach which annoys everyone in your path or the methodical, effective approach. Here’s the breakdown of the two different ways to prepare for a speech:
The frantic approach: This approach to speech preparation results from laziness and a lack of planning. If this is the approach you choose to go with, you will find yourself running around the office trying to grab information from other co-workers relying on their hard work and preparation. Your relationships with your co-workers will suffer because you’re taking advantage of work they’ve done that you could have accomplished, had you planned ahead.
Since you now have a load of files, white papers, and random tidbits of data, you feel overwhelmed. This frantic, suffocating feeling leads you to do a data dump on your audience. You unload anything and everything you found despite not doing further research to check for relevancy. You are now known as the person who doesn’t prepare and makes everyone else pay the price.
The effective approach: Write down every big message point your audience needs to know then you need to prioritize them. Narrow them down to the top five ideas that are the most important. People are typically not able to remember more than five ideas from a presentation.
After narrowing down your ideas to the top five, you need a story for each one of your message points. Use relevant, memorable stories that help back up each of the five points. Stories serve as evidence and provide the basis for your speech.
Don’t use typed out bullet points on your slides. Use images instead. They’re more captivating and are an effective way to communicate emotion and energy. After finding an image for each slide, it’s moving to the next step.
Get a single sheet of paper that has an outline of your five points to trigger your memory of the stories that pair with each slide. The single sheet of paper shouldn’t have a mini-essay. It just needs a sentence or two for each of the five points. You’ll be more familiar with your presentation as you review and rehearse.
Now that you’ve narrowed down your main points, found stories, images for slides, and have a sheet of paper to serve as a guide, it’s time to practice. One way to track progress is to videotape your rehearsals. You can watch yourself perform and see what parts need improvement.