It doesn’t matter whether you are delivering an informative, persuasive or humorous speech. The majority of people concentrate on how they are going to deliver their presentation, or what images will work best on their next Keynote/PowerPoint presentation. They may then focus on whether to use notes or make an attempt to memorize their speech. And yet, no one really looks at the root of all public speaking problems and its solution–the script.
I’m writing this article for print and reading, but if I was delivering this as a speech, my writing would look quite different, in fact, it would look like a script, because essays are designed to be read, while scripts are crafted to be spoken.
A script, like a novel, is written with words–and yet they are different. Where a novel must set the scene, develop the characters, and create emotion with words; a script must be spoken to an audience creating its energy by breathing life into each word.
How to Prepare Your Speech
Write it as if you are speaking. Don’t write an essay, the words will be spoken not printed. Double-space your script: This is for the purpose of making comments to yourself.
Underline adjectives and key phrases. These are words that represent emotions. What emotions do your words represent? If you aren’t sure then this is something a public speaking coach could help out with.
Practice by speaking out loud
I have walked into many high school and college English 1 classes to find students buried in reading a Shakespeare play like Romeo & Juliet or Julius Caesar–the key word is “buried,” because the room is silent as everyone is trying to stay awake reading silently. Not one of Shakespeare’s plays was designed to be read like some novel–they were written to be SPOKEN! Because Shakespeare’s plays are scripts not novels.
Likewise, don’t practice reading your script for a speech or presentation silently to yourself, READ IT OUT LOUD. Many people are embarrassed to read their speeches out loud, even when they’re alone, but will pay for it, at the lectern, when that anxiety appears from hearing their voice, as if for the first time. At that point, awkwardness leads to a lack of confidence that fills the speaker, turning an opportunity to make a great impression into self resentment.
I have seen several good public speaking courses on video. Likewise there are several good books teaching presentation topics from the boardroom to TED talks. But both lack two key ingredients. (1) No system on how to choose the right words for impact, and (2) No live feedback from a qualified or professional public speaking coach. When watching a video or reading a book, how do you know that you are doing it right? You need someone to hear your presentation, evaluate it, and return positive criticism that will encourage and improve your speech.
Public Speaking is a Skill
Unfortunately, videos and books can’t give you experience and feedback. Experience comes from both practice and delivery to a live audience. Feedback comes from encouragement and direction from an experience coach.
Public speaking comes under the heading of communication as one of the most important foundational tools you can possess. Public speaking is also the foundation to developing other business skills such as: Leadership, problem-solving, project management, sales and more. Like any skill, public speaking is an ongoing process that leads to proficiency and beyond.
Looking for a Public Speaking Coach
I strongly believe people looking to learn or perfect their public speaking skills cannot get this experience from videos or books. For over three decades I have taught public speaking\debate courses, been a theatrical director, playwrite, an actor, and a public speaking coach. Three decades of hands-on experience working with beginners to professional speakers. I know I can help you in either my workshop setting or one-to-one coaching.
It is said, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it can’t change you.” Take the challenge to increase your self-confidence and put the nervousness under control. If interested in learning more about my class settings and topics check out my website: https://PeteRome.com.