Public Speaking Course:
Those who know me or have seen me do a speaking engagement know that I am
really focused on pre-program research. By doing this research you give
yourself plenty of information to connect with your audience on much deeper levels than you
could have without it. There are many ways to research your program
that you will learn while taking a public speaking course.
You can review trade publications, do Internet searches, secret shop
retail establishments, and use a pre-program questionnaire. I do most
of these techniques for every single one of my presentations, but
the one that is most effective for me
is the telephone interview.
Try to interview at least 15 people before your presentation day. If
you can speak
to some people who are going to actually be at the meeting. If they
all have the same rank and job responsibilities, make sure that
you get differing views, short timers versus old timers
and/or male versus female. This is a good tip from my public
To get a variety of viewpoints ask some variation of these questions:
-- What are the three biggest challenges you have in accomplishing
your daily duties?
-- Tell me about the organizational failures.
-- Tell me about the organizational successes.
-- Tell me anything funny that has happened.
Once you have all the needed information it is time to bring it all
together for your presentation.
I always try to make the audience the stars and one way to do this is to use a very positive or insightful statement
that you got from your phone interviews and project it or put it in
your handout in a prominent position. A lot of the times my entire presentation is
customized around the quotes
I got from people I interviewed. I weave my material in and
around what they have told me. I then give the overhead or disk to the
person who gave me the information.
Overheads are much better for this because I have seen them hanging
on the bulletin board in the organization. Of course, my name and company
are on it too. Using your pre-program research that you learned about
in my public speaking course will also help you build
rapport and gain an 'insiders' position because you will be exposed
to the terminology of the group, i.e., you might have used the generic
term manager, but instead you found out that the term 'team leader' is used by
a particular organization.
The information you receive can also be used to plant the seed for
a future public speaking presentation or to land you more consulting
work. You might say during a presentation, 'Joe, also told me about
XYZ. We don't have time to discuss that today, but it certainly warrants
some attention.' Besides promoting you, it shows you did your homework
and that you know what is going on in the group to which you are speaking.