Gather what you know about your topic. The first step to SMART speech preparation is here! [Wednesdays: “Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”]
The SMART Speech Preparation Formula
S – Select Your Material
Last week, we gave an overview of the SMART Speech Preparation Formula found in Arina Nikitina’s book, “Successful Public Speaking.”
Each letter in the acronym stands for 5 different guidelines that help speakers like you put together a great presentation.
S – Select your material
M – Map an outline of your speech or presentation
A – Add humor and personality to your talk
R – Revise your script (if you’ve prepared one)
T – Tie the loose ends of your speech together
Let’s get into each of these guidelines in detail!
In today’s article, we’ll focus on the first letter―S.
The first step to preparing for a speech or presentation is selecting your materials and gathering as much information as you can about your topic.
Do you remember the Iceberg Principle we talked about last week?
This concept states that your knowledge about your subject should be greater and deeper than what you decide to share during your talk.
Think of your speech or presentation as an iceberg. The portion you see above the water is the information you share with your audience and underneath that is a whole bunch of other details to support your statements.
This principle is especially helpful in cases where one of your audience members asks questions to clarify some parts of your talk. Having additional or supplementary information about your subject will enable you to elaborate more on what you’ve discussed and answer the queries confidently and effectively.
What can you do to gather as much information and material as possible about your presentation topic?
- Start with what you already know about your topic.
Let’s say your subject is about marketing in the digital age. What can you do to kickstart the preparations for your speech or presentation?
First, take note of all that you know about marketing and the digital age, such as:
- The purpose of marketing.
- The changes to the business landscape in the digital age.
- The different digital marketing strategies like social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, etc.
… and others.
Consider all the details that are interesting or relevant to your audience, too! These will compel them to pay attention to what you have to say.
Gathering what you already know about your topic will help form the foundations of your talk. This will also enable you to proceed with the next part of selecting your material, which is…
- Choose 1 to 3 major points then organize your talk around them.
Let’s use the same example we used in the first bullet: Marketing in the digital age.
Suppose you came up with 10 subtopics for your main presentation topic. Would you discuss them all in front of your listeners?
You can, but you have to make sure your talk doesn’t become too overwhelming for them.
An ideal thing to do is to divide your subtopics into 3 major points or if categorizing them is not possible, choose up to 3 of the most important points to discuss. You may keep the rest of your subtopics for future use or as part of your “iceberg knowledge.”
Why 3? That’s the ideal number to get your message across without causing information overload for your audience.
Once you’ve finalized your top 3 subtopics, start organizing your talk around them. Remember to keep your transitions as clear and smooth as possible!
- Conduct additional research to strengthen your claims and supplement your presentation.
Solely relying on your own stored knowledge about a topic, especially when you’re delivering a speech or presentation, is risky.
Even experts and veteran speakers need to conduct additional research to make sure they have the latest information.
Here are 2 types sources where you can gather additional information about your topic:
- Primary Sources such as books, newspapers, magazines, letters, diaries, manuscripts, speech or interview transcripts, audio or video recordings, emails, and research data.
- Secondary Sources such as book reviews, commentaries, editorial pieces, dictionaries, encyclopedias, biographies, online journal reviews, websites, and online catalogs.
You may also talk to other experts or professionals to add credibility to your speech or presentation.
Who knows? These people might also help you simplify complex concepts or ideas about your topic so you’ll effectively deliver your message to your audience!
Selecting your material and gathering as much information as possible about your subject are important aspects in preparing for your speech or presentation.
Doing so helps you come up with fresh ideas on how to improve your talk, make your message meaningful and easy to understand, and boost your credibility and reliability as a speaker.
Amaze your listeners with your “iceberg knowledge” and well-prepared speech!
Follow the tips above and ace your way through the first part of the SMART Speech Preparation Formula.
Stay tuned for next week’s content as we’ll be talking about another guideline in efficiently preparing for your talk!
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Wednesdays: Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”
In a meeting with one person
…a boardroom with five people
…or a huge venue with hundreds of people
—whatever the situation or setting, it’s very important to learn and eventually master the art of public speaking.
No matter what, you always need to effectively get your message across.
What good is a presentation with awesome content if you don’t deliver it properly?
Every Wednesday, we publish different tips, insights, and secrets on how you can improve your presentation skills to captivate your audience and lead interesting discussions.
The need for great presentation skills applies EVERYWHERE.
(Small meetings with your team, big meetings with your boss, an important marketing pitch, speaking engagements for events with a big audience, etc.)
Learning these skills is not just for the corporate world. Being in other industries such as the Arts, Information Technology, Medicine, and Education while knowing how to present well will definitely give you an edge.
Have that advantage.
Hope you’ve found this week’s public speaking tip interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s Speak on the Shoulders of Giants!
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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