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Gurgaon India
Imagine if you were the audience
Mar 26, 2006 04:01 PM 6371 Views
(Updated Mar 26, 2006 04:01 PM)

I am sure you can find a lot of academic abracadabra on net on this topic, so let me just give you few things that work for you:

  1. Forget that you are going to read this piece or any'expert' advice on the net and will take the podium next time to deliver a cracker. Naah - never happens. Each time you stride there you'll be just a shade better than the last. And many such visits will make a good speaker out of you. It took me good part of my two years of b-school delivering boring presentations to my classmates to become half-decent.

  2. There is no substitute to practice: Okay, so you don't have two years, and your appointed hour is just a week away. What do you do? Stop putting off working on your speech - start today, even if you can come up with only a couple of slides. Believe me, it'll make you feel better immediately. each time you look at it, newer ideas for expanding/improving it will come to you. Once you are confortable with the subject matter, you'll feel more confident. And don't forget to closet yourself and practice delivering it. And it's not just with firs-timers like us. When I joined my first company, I saw may boss making a speech to a group - natural, spontaneous, arresting. I was floored. But hey, he was my boss, so I had to accompany him to other group speeches as well and then I realized that hey, he has memorized each and every joke, comma and full-stop of the speech and delivers the same to each group.

Now let's get on tot he speech itself. Remember, there are two parts to any speech -the content and the delivery. Let's focus on each saperately:

  1. Content: Most'experts', when preparing a tutorial, forget that the audience knows the subject much less then him/her - that's why you have been invited to speak in the first place. When preparing the first draft, imagine that you are explaining the stuff to a 5 year old son. After you have prepared the first draft, try and imagine what questions might be asked. If you can't think of one, get soeone to go through it and explain the concept back to you - he won't be able to and ask you questions. Note them down - these are things you have'nt already answered in your speech. A couple of iterations will make it perfect.

  2. Delivery: This one is for all fellow Indians - somehow we feel that the ability to speak faster means better command of English language. IT IS NOT. Just as you don't like Nana Patekar style punctuation free Hindi, similarly a machine-gun blast of English language is annoying and incomprehensible, what with our accent. Speak slowly, in a measured tone. Make sure you are pronouncing each word separately and completely. Guide to pronunciation - stress, intonations are something you'll get tons of material on the net.

And my last bit - workss very well for me:

  1. No matter how serious the topic be, add a dash of humor to it. To an audience jaded by avalanche of inane information, it comes as a breath of fresh air.

They'll love you speech. And they'll love you.

Best of luck.

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