Preparation – If you can’t say it in a minute, you can’t say it in an hour…
Start with the end in mind…sounds cheesy, but its easy to skip this bit and carry on regardless, ending up planning a talk that isn’t anything to do with what you were meant to do. Ask: Who am I speaking to? For what reason, for how long and where? What would you like them to take away at the end? Once you know this then you can *FRAME* your talk and put it into context – so it fits and it works. There’s no point doing a talk to an old ladies group about twitter and social networking, it wouldn’t work and can’t be easily applied.
CURRY ANYONE? – All talks should have take-aways or action points. People are all asking ‘WIIFM’ (What’s In It For Me) – answer that in your planning and your first few minutes and they will stay with you. “by the end of this talk you will know how to save £10,000 a year” “in ten minutes time you will know how to boost your self-image” “by the time you leave today you’ll understand what pensions are, and why they are important”
USE BLANKS – Use blank paper and mindmap your ideas in landscape mode – write the subject in the middle and just let your subject flow. Don’t edit – just let your brain do the work and give this time. Using lined paper and doing lists restricts your ideas – just buy blank notebooks or get a sketch pad or flip chart paper. You may also find it helpful to get away from your desk – walk around, take breaks, change the environment. In fact do anything to keep the ideas flowing. When you have the ideas then sift them and start to put them into a rough order.
PLAN EARLY – I often plan things weeks in advance because, I like ideas to “marinade” a bit. Fresh ideas aren’t always the best ones.
FLEETING – Thoughts are fleeting so if you have an idea write it down straight away. You wont remember to do it later – I can guarantee it. I have heard it said that all good leaders carry notebooks. I have notebooks by my bed, in the loo and in the car – strange, I know but it works for me!
BANK IT – Build up a bank of resources to use.You might use them, or you might not, but build up a file of cuttings. Don’t edit – just keep them.
STATO – Go steady on the stats – some people love stats but most people switch off – use one or two if you need to, but always tell stories as your main content, no-one remembers stats, but they do remember stories.
HELP! – Don’t be afraid to ask for help and opinions – I did for this article before I even started typing. Don’t be the lone ranger but be brave enough to ask for help and advice from people who are good speakers, people you trust.
WHY WHY WHY? – As you plan keep asking the Why (am I doing this talk) question – that will help you get to the core of your message much quicker.