Friday, April 27, 2012

Speaking Tip: Everything is Important

in your speech, which is the important element? Is it the delivery, the message, the visuals or the reaction of the audience? It's everything. Your speech will be remembered for one of two things. It may be the takeaway message, which resonates with the audience and calls them to action, or it may be the thing that didn't quite work. 

Alas, it is often the one element that fails which becomes the memorable feature of a speech. It may be poor acoustics, bad sight-lines from some parts of the room, or failing to deal properly with a question. That's why a professional speaker checks and re-checks everything. That's why they arrive early and test every piece of technology. That' why they have a backup device or procedure for every foreseeable failure. That's why they rehearse.

Murphy's Law (whatever can go wrong will go wrong) doesn't always apply. However, Stevens' amendment to Murphy's Law (the thing that you didn't test will fail) often does. Leaving any element of your presentation to chance is opening yourself up to potential disaster.
The trouble is, you may be too close to your speech to spot the errors. It's a good idea to ask someone else to check things out with you. A fellow speaker is a good sounding board (sometimes literally), and then you can help them in the same fashion.

The important thing is everything.

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