How to Improve Your Public Speaking: Breathe Fresh Air into Your Older Speech Content
by Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE
If you are a dedicated public speaker or have to deliver presentations as part of your job, perhaps you have noticed you can get bored with your own content. No matter how solid or well designed your keynote speech or corporate presentation is, it is too easy to go on autopilot, and your well-crafted speeches can lose their luster. How can you keep the excitement alive? By falling in love with your public speaking material all over again!
When you internalize your stories and message well, you can forget thinking about what is coming next and focus on your audience. Gene Perret was head writer for Bob Hope for 30 years. He said, “Fripp, you need to know your content so well the words fall flawlessly from your lips.”
My first lesson about falling in love with my own material came from a well-known speech coach Ron Arden. My mastermind group Speakers Roundtable brought in one of the leading speech coaches in North America, Ron Arden, to work with us. We are all Hall of Fame keynote speakers and knew our speeches inside out.
You can feel confident we had memorized our presentations. Yes, we could still be flexible and build in spontaneity. We knew our core messages, and I am sure I was not the only one getting not bored, just less excited.
Ron helped us see our work from a fresh viewpoint that was exhilarating. Suddenly we realized we could even leave out what we thought was our most humorous material and still get laughs. He helped us add new techniques to our delivery, how to pause and bring the audience to us. We all added more specificity to our script and movement. From then on each time we delivered a speech, we incorporated one or two new techniques. The result was as if we were delivering our speeches as if for the first time. My brother Robert Fripp, the world-class musician, compares this in music and walking on stage after 40 years. He said, “It is the assumption of innocence within a context of experience.”
When you make your presentations feel fresh for you, it is guaranteed to be a more exciting experience for your audience.
How can you make your old speeches new? Here’s your assignment.
1. Record one of your speeches.
2. Transcribe it so you have a “script.”
3. Study what you said, deciding how to make your words stronger. Is the material in a logical order? Could you use more vivid, descriptive language? Be more to the point? Should any overlong sentences be divided into shorter ones? Do you start strong and then build to a climax? Is there anything you should add or leave out? Create a new script incorporating all your revisions.
4. Record yourself reading the revised script.
5. Evaluate the new version.
6. Take your new content public. Test on a safe, supportive audience. If that is a mastermind group or a Toastmasters Club, they will be excited to be part of your process.
When you take your new, improved presentation to the boardroom or the convention stage, you may be delivering similar content; however, with a slight difference. Then, even when you’re speaking to individuals who have heard you before, I promise you they’ll hear something new. Afterwards they’ll tell you, “I always thought you were a good speaker, but that was amazing!”
Does this sound like something you would do? If you need more help with your presentation skills why not attend one of my public speaking events?
Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE, is a Hall of Fame keynote speaker, executive speech coach, and sales presentation skills expert. Why not find out how she can help you?