It never ceases to amaze me how many people give talks and speeches without having a clear idea of what they want their audience to be doing as a result of their talk. In my book this is a recipe for disaster.

Many moons ago I learned a simple but profound process for success.

Step 1: Have a clear Outcome – Know what you want and what it will look like, sound like and feel like.

Step 2: Take action

Step 3: Notice the responses you are getting. Develop your sensory acuity so that you pick up on all the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle!) signals from your audience.

Step 4: If the response you are getting is not what you want, “Do something different!”

It should be obvious to you that the key to this process is step 1. You must have a clear outcome. This model works with almost anything in life including making a speech or presentation. So next time you start to prepare a presentation – start with the end in mind. What is your answer to these two questions

If you are able to answer these two si

  1. “What do I want my audience to be doing at the end of my presentation?”
  2. “How will I recognise if I am on track? – How do I want my audience to be responding?”

If you can convincingly answer these simple questions, then you are on track to a successful and effective presentation.

Have a great day


1 Comment

  1. bk2nocal on 20/06/2007 at 04:49

    As a college public speaking instructor, I can not agree with you enough on this. I think the key to this, and something that often seems to require some work on the part of speech writers, is a clear and complete purpose statement (the answer to #1). The first step of every speech assignment in my classes is to turn in their purpose statement for their speech. I inevitably get something like “history of basketball” written on a piece of paper. I imagine this is something like what was in the mind of those you describe at the beginning of this post. Purpose statements need to answer your Question #1, so I often make my students start with the prompt, “At the end of my speech I want my audience to __________.” Then they have to decide if they are informing or persuading the audience in order to fill in the blank effectively. Then, and only then, do they move on to actually writing the speech! You have some great advice here! Thanks for giving people tools for improving!

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