My TEDx event at Loyola Marymount University is fast approaching on October 27. I’m the speaker coach for all nine speakers! And I’m the emcee! The speeches are written, edited, fine-tuned. Now the work begins. I say “You can lead a speaker to a speech, but you can’t make them learn it.” And you need to know it so well, you don’t just deliver it – you dance with it!
How do you do that? The answer is the same one as the answer to the joke question, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Answer: “Practice, practice, practice.” That quote has been attributed to Heifetz, Rubinstein, and Jack Benny, but no one really knows who created it.
Here are some tips:
- Never memorize your speech word for word. That’s a surefire path to disaster, because if you trip up on one word, you lose your way completely. Also, if your head is buried in your script, you cannot make eye contact to connect with your audience. And you know how important that is.
- Write the speech in bullet points. Each bullet point will stand for a “thought group.” Each name will stand for a story that you tell. Write the bullet points on note cards. The cards must be stiff enough so they won’t crinkle or make noise in your hands. Each note card has a thought group on it, the subject of your story, or whatever is coming next. The audience won’t mind. They like to feel secure you know what comes next.
- Practice! Say the speech out loud, many times. Work from your bullet points, so that you know what comes first, second, and third. This is where people mess up. They don’t want to practice. It takes time and effort. Practice is not only the way to Carnegie Hall. It’s the only way to master your material, so that you look like someone your audience wants to listen to.
I can help you. Please call me for a complimentary 30-minute call to explore how you can speak to grow your business.