The gift of public speaking

When I say the “gift” of public speaking, I’m not referring to the “gift of gab”.  I’m talking about the idea that your presentation should be a gift  to your audience.  It’s your opportunity to give them something; ideally something they want, need, or can use.  (And not an afternoon nap, ahem.)

Think of your next presentation as a “present” you’re giving your audience.  Make it a good one.  It should be carefully thought out with the receiver in mind, just as every great gift is.  Face it, there’s nothing more trying than receiving a gift from someone that “they want you to have”.  Ugh.  These kinds of gifts say more about what’s important to the giver, what they want and need, where their interest lies.  How satisfying is that gift on the receiving end?  Ah, now you’re getting it.

Before you write ONE WORD of your “present”-ation, think about your receiver.  What would really make him/her/them happy?  What are they really passionate about?  Worried about?  Desirous of?  How can you make their day?  Solve their problem?  Ease their pain?  In other words, what gifts can your “present”-ation give them?

Your gift should be complete, easy to accept, and virtually impossible to refuse.  This means making it coherent, understandable and delivered with confidence and conviction.  No one likes receiving a gift with parts missing, or that requires a Ph.D. in engineering to put together, or worse, one that just doesn’t work, or doesn’t fit.  Your “present”-ation should be a breeze for your audience to follow and digest. Not too complicated, too verbose, or too technical. It should be something they are eager to receive and happy to keep. The best “present”-ations are those that stay with the recipient long after they’re given.  Just like a great great gift.

Next, you’ve got to take this gift and wrap it beautifully. Your delivery should be smooth, unfettered by non-words, awkward pauses, ‘you know’s and ‘I mean’s’.  If you’re using any kind of visual, it should serve ONLY to make your “present”-ation even more attractive to the receiver.  DON’T think you’ll make a simple “present”-ation better by creating a complicated PowerPoint slide show.  The simplest gifts can be the most cherished if they’re beautifully, clearly presented.

So, go forth and give the gift of speaking!  Make your next “present”-ation a true present to your audience.  Keep them in mind right from the start; never lose sight of giving them something they’ll truly thank you for.  And thank you they will;  you’ll be heard.

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