What Do You Need To Know Before You Give A Presentation?

by drjim on July 24, 2018

Before you give a speech, you need to know several things

Before you give a speech, you need to know several things
Image Credit: Jon-Eric Melsæter

Congratulations! You understand the importance of public speaking and so you’ve been asked to give a speech. Oh, wait. Just exactly what are you going to be talking about? Who will you be talking to? Where is all of this going to be taking place? Clearly there are a number of different questions that you need to be asking before you show up to give your next presentation. Do you know what you don’t know?

The Five Questions That Need Answers Before You Speak

The good news here is that there are not 100’s of different questions that you are going to have to get answers to before you can get up in front of your next audience. Instead, there are simply a handful of critical questions that need to be answered so that you can focus on creating the right type of speech for the audience that you’ll be addressing. Knowing the questions is your first step in finding out what the answers are.

The first question that you need to be asking is probably the most important question: who will your audience be? You want to know who is going to be making up your audience and why they will be there. What organization do they all belong to? How big is your audience going to be? Will there be any really important people in the audience?

Your next question is going to be what are you being asked to talk on? Specifically, what subject and what specific area of interest is being asked for? You are going to have an audience sitting there – what do they want to hear you talk about? Is there a topic that is going to grab their attention? You need to understand that the answer to this question may be loosely defined for some audiences and very tightly defined for other audiences.

What is the event that you’ll be speaking at? You are going to want to make sure that you fully understand the event and / or the occasion that you are going to be speaking at. Your audience is going to know the answer to this question, this means that you need to make sure that you know the answer also. Once you know this you’ll then want to make sure that your speech ties into it somehow.

You’ll need to find out the desired function of your speech. You’ve been asked to give a speech for a specific reason. Are you just filling time after a big meal or are you setting the tone for the rest of the day? If your speech is just one part of a bigger event, then you need to understand how it all fits together.

Of critical importance to you is to find out exactly what the date and time of your speech is going to be. Since this is the real world that we live in, things like this can often change, but as the speaker we need to know when our host is expecting us to be available to start our speech. You are going to have to be able to modify your speech depending on what time of day it is given and what will have come before your speech such as a meal.

The location of your speech is going to be critical to you. Prior to the speech starting you are going to want to learn where you’ll be speaking and then visit that location. This will allow you to make any changes to it that you believe will be needed in order to allow your audience to get the most out of your speech. This also allows you to make sure that the room in which you’ll be speaking is already set up for you.

Knowing who will be doing the speaking is the final question that you need to get an answer to. Sure, you suppose that you’ll be doing the speaking; however, perhaps you are only being asked to write a speech. Or perhaps there will be multiple speakers and you’ll just be one of them. These are important questions that can have a big impact on the type of speech that you’ll be giving.

What All Of This Means For You

Being asked to give a speech is a big honor. However, being asked is just the start. It turns out that there are a number of critical questions that you are going to have to get answers to before you give your speech in order to maximize the benefits of public speaking. Knowing the right questions to ask is the start.

The questions that you are going to want to get answers to prior to giving a speech are designed to allow you to create a speech that will be successful. Since you are going to go to the effort to create, practice, and then deliver a speech, you are going to want to take the time to do some research first. You’ll want to find out who you are going to be presenting to and, just as importantly, what they are going to want to hear from you. You need to understand the type of event that you’ll be presenting at and the role that your speech will play in this event. Where and when you’ll be speaking are critical questions that you’ll need to find out in order to be able to show up at the right time. Finally, you’ll need to make sure that you understand if you’ll be speaking and if so, if you’ll be the only one speaking.

Every presentation that you give can be a success. However, in order to make sure that you provide your audience with what they have come to hear, you are going to have to make sure that you really understand what is being asked of you. Take the time to collect the information that you are going to need in order to be successful and then go out there and deliver a great presentation!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: If you find out that there will be multiple speakers, how should you change your speech?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

In the world of speakers, we are always looking for role models who understand the importance of public speaking and that will show us how this whole speaking thing is supposed to be done. Sure, there are the Tony Robbins of the world, but most of us don’t think that we’ll ever be able to emulate him. Instead, we go looking for more down-to-earth examples of speakers who can show us how good we could be. The good news is that it turns out that there are a lot of them, we call them TED speakers.

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