Public Speaking Course:
People who know me personally or have watched me do a presentation before know that I am a real stickler about researching your program thoroughly before doing your presentation. By doing this research you will be able to connect with the audience on a much deeper level than you could have without it. My public speaking course teaches you that there are many different ways you can research your program.
You can review professional trade publications, search on the Internet, secret shop retail establishments, and give a pre-program questionnaire. I do most of these research techniques for every one of my presentations, but I feel that the telephone interview is the most effective source of information.
Interview at least 15 people before your presentation day. Try to talk with some people who are actually going to be at the meeting. If they all have the same rank and same job responsibilities, make sure that you get cross section from geographics, short timers versus old timers and/or male versus female.
Be sure to get a broad range of views. Ask variations of these questions:
Once you have all your information it is time to assemble it and create your presentation. One of my overriding principals is to make the audience the stars.
One way to do this is to use a very positive or insightful statement that you got from your phone interviews and project it or put it in your handout in a prominent position.
Many times my entire customized presentation is based around the quotes I got from people I interviewed beforehand. I weave my material in and around what they have told me. I then give the overhead or disk to the person who gave me the information.
Overheads are much better for this because I have seen them hanging on the bulletin board in the organization. Of course, my name and company are on it too. Using your pre-program research will also help you build rapport and gain an 'insiders' position because you will be exposed to the terminology of the group. For example, you might have used the generic term manager, but instead you found out that the term 'team leader' is used by a particular company instead.
The information you receive can also be used to plant the seed for a future speaking presentation or to land you more consulting work. You might say during a presentation, 'Joe, also told me about XYZ. We don't have time to discuss that today, but it certainly warrants some attention.' Besides promoting you, it shows you did your homework and that you know what is going on in the group to which you are speaking.
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