Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Advice for speakers - Stay in the spotlight

Lee Bowman, who was one of the most respected speech coaches in the world, once said "A speech is like a spotlight, since it focuses intensely on a small area."
Clearly, Lee was talking about good speeches. Alas, too many speakers try to pack in huge amounts of information into a short speech, leaving the audience dazed and confused. Often, it is because they are worried about running out of material, or appearing less than expert about their topic. Even worse, some use their slides to add another level of complexity, even using the terrifying phrase "This slide is rather complex - let me explain it to you"

Back to the spotlight. That's where you need to stay throughout your speech. Ensure that you keep in mind the simple message that you want your audience to remember. One speaker that I met many years ago used two huge prompt cards - one had his core message on it, the other had the three main points of his speech. He kept both in view as he spoke - a constant reminder of what he was communicating. In fact, he taped them to the stage like a set list for a rock band, so he literally walked (over) his talk. (That's his phrase, by the way). The thing is, it worked.

Don't be a speaker of whom the audience says "Great speech - wish I could remember what the point was". Get in the spotlight and stay there.

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