All you need to make successful speeches

focus presentations public speaking Aug 25, 2019

We created the Communication Mantra to help clients remember the main points of our transformational presentation coaching in four simple sentences. These four stages are the building blocks of any successful speech or presentation. Check them out. See if you can apply them to your next project.

The Communication Mantra:

  • Have something to say
  • Believe in it
  • Say it simply
  • Shut up

Let’s dig a little deeper into what that means:

#1 Have something to say 

That’s the planning part. It includes:

  • Your controlling idea – where you summarize in one short sentence your main premise; that’s the key message, the big idea that you want the audience to remember after your presentation is over.
  • Your hook – which is how you begin. Your hook has to grab the audience, make them sit up and want more. It can be a short story, a quote, a big bold statement. It can be anything, as long as it’s appropriate for the topic and the audience.
  • Context – which is the need-to-know background information. Without it, your audience will be confused. But be careful: provide too much context too early and it might sound like a dull history lesson.
  • Content – which is the body of your presentation. This is where you lay out your arguments, your vision and the rationale for your premise.
  • Conclusion – which is your big finish, and most likely your call to action. What do you want your audience to do or remember after you’ve finished?

#2 Believe in it

That’s the passion part, as well as:

  • Energy – you have to present energetically to keep any audience engaged. 
  • Tone – does your tone match your content? Are you conveying enthusiasm, or empathy, or anger – depending on the content? Or are you speaking in a monotone? Your tone is like the music accompanying your words. Your tone is a major factor in helping the audience receive your information.
  • Authentic voice – this is all about you speaking the way you normally speak… being comfortable in your own skin.  Audiences want to have a relationship with you – not some facsimile of what you think a speaker should look and sound like.
  • Body language – your body speaks before you open your mouth. So all your gestures should add value to your words. If your body language seems to contradict your words, you have a confused and unbelieving audience. 

#3 Say it simply

This is all about the TalkitOut Technique, and all the strategies for speaking conversationally:

  • Simple sentences – no long, convoluted sentences which are difficult for you to deliver and even harder for the audience to follow.
  • Simple words – don’t use words in your speeches and presentations that you never use in your conversations with friends. Your power comes from the content of your heart, not your knowledge of the dictionary.
  • Pause – silence, used strategically, will punctuate your message and give the audience time to absorb what you’ve said. The pause also gives you time to breathe, time to control your deliver, and time to assess the audience’s reaction.
  • Emphasis – the meaning of a sentence will change subtly depending on which words you emphasize. No emphasis is a monotone, providing no direction for the audience.
  • Hi Mom – say these two little words before any sentence and they will tell you if your sentence is conversational or not.
  • Stories – tell them, often. Well-chosen relevant stories are a great way of making your facts and arguments stick in the minds of the audience.
  • The power of three – if you deliver words or phases or sentences in threes it makes them stick in the audience’s mind.. like ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ or ‘Wine, Women, Song’.
  • Repetition – when you speak, repetition is definitely good. The more you repeat, the better the chance of the message sticking in the audience’s mind.

Finally #4 Shut Up

When you’ve said what you want to say, shut up. Don’t go over your time. Less is more with any audience. The more you say, the less people will remember. Make your speech memorable for its content, not its length.