Personal Experience

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Try this method for preparing your speeches.
Base it on a story from your own experience, preferably a recent experience.

The speech will be in three parts:

1. Start with a simple statement of the point or meaning or significance of your speech.

2. Tell a story which illustrates the statement, point, meaning etc

3. End by restating the point or meaning.

In your preparation, there are two important parts.

First, select the incident or event. (Check some suggestions) Second, work out a significance for it. (Check some suggestions) The second part, deciding on the point or the significance, is what makes it a speech in terms of public speaking. It will probably be the hardest part of your preparation.

Use the methods employed by good storytellers.

Look around at the audience – make them feel you are telling it to them. Set the scene – describe places, use facial expressions and physical movements. Use pauses to heighten the interest, particularly before the punchline, the final part of the story. Include conversation and report direct speech – the actual words spoken.

Some DOS

(Check out why if you want to)

DO use incidental time for preparation. Driving to and fro from work is a good time. Weeding the garden is an excellent time. Washing the dishes is a valuable time. Use time where your mind is reasonably free because you are doing a regular activity that doesn’t require much of your thinking effort.

DO put your speaking effort into communicating directly with the audience, rather than struggling to get the details perfect.

DO use silence to handle momentary gaps in your memory. Use a powerful pause.

Some DONTS

(Check out why if you want to)

DONT write out your speech.

DONT use notes (one small palmcard should be your only concession to panic)

DONT apologise for any part of your speech or presentation

Use the timing lights to judge the length of your speech.

Aim to finish approximately when the red light comes on.

The green light indicates that you need to start closing off.

The amber light is a warning to complete the story and to end by restating the point.

When you finish, look around the audience and wait for the applause.

Some additional material you might find helpful

Suggestions for selecting the story

Best is something that happened in the last few days.

This is because it will be vivid in your mind, and you will be able to paint the scene with accurate detail.

Tell about your weaknesses and failures rather than your strengths and triumphs.

This gets the audience on your side, because it sounds sincere and helps make you credible and believable.

Go for stories that did one or more of these

taught you something
enhanced your understanding of somebody
clarified some aspect of your life
created an emotional response in you.
Suggestions for the statement of the significance of the story

Keep it short. Best is one brief sentence.

Make the final re-statement very similar to the opening statement.

Keep very brief any explanation you make about the statement.

Reasons for the DOs

Use incidental time for your preparation.

Most people have plenty of this time, but have restricted time to set aside for formal preparation. So, this will give you much more time to prepare well.

Your mind is likely to be more relaxed, and come up with a range of options because there is no urgent necessity to get the project finished right now. You can think more creatively and more laterally when you are relaxed.

You are approximating the attention style you will use during your speech - i.e. thinking about the material in a relaxed attitude, rather than trying to fix the exact words you will use and learn them slavishly.

Put your effort into communicating with the audience rather than getting the words perfect.

If you give your attention to the audience they will give their attention to you.

When speakers forget...
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