Your Speech Preparation Time-frame – What Works for Your Style

Recently I heard a speaker say, “I don’t know why some folks crab about planning a speech. Take 30 minutes and be done already!”

Perhaps 30 minutes works for some, but I will guess that’s only if they are overly familiar with both their topic and audience AND trust themselves to be articulate on the fly.

The above comment was made by someone who is a task-driven and high energy communicator.

Our natural communication style affects our communication with people. And it also affects our commitment to tasks, including our choice in how much time to prepare a speech.

I have written blog posts about communication style, and how our natural style affects what we want from others and our personal behavior preferences. Review the above link to see what your style is.

The person who think 30 minutes is enough time to plan a speech, no doubt spends little time planning most things and is hopefully good on their feet with structure, organization and flow. They are D’s – doers. However, when they haven’t practiced their body language or wording, they don’t understand their level of effectiveness from a listener’s perspective.

D’s do best to not only sketch out their message, but to also rehearse it aloud so they can test spoken language flow. Once they do so, they can more readily tweak their language and once having put the preparation in, day of delivery they can pay attention to listener responses. This slightly expanded preparation with a run-through gives D speakers a chance to learn if they left out anything and used their time well.

Review your style on the chart of the previous blog post on communication style. If you are a D, you get better results if you rehearse connecting with your audience. If you are an I, you enhance your reputation if you rehearse your message detail and transitioning. If you are an S, you gain peace of mind if you work on what makes you confident to speak. If you are a C, you create quality when you keep your message simple and connect with your listeners.

Here are some planning tips for you all:

  • D’s  2-3 days out from your gig, take 30 minutes to review audience need and outline your speech
  • next day, speak it aloud while recording from your webcam to test use of time and message comprehension
  • watch recording for effective and not pushy body language and tweak as necessary
  • I’s 3-5 days out from your gig take 60 minutes to review facts and anecdotes for your message
  • Take 15 minutes to draft an outline, then test it aloud, on your feet, in front of your webcam
  • Watch recording for poise and pleasing vocal sound and tweak as necessary
  • Rehearse again the day of the gig
  • S’s 2 weeks out, review the audience need relevant to your message and remember why you have what they want
  • Review facts and anecdotes for your message
  • Take 30 minutes to script out your message, then review for conciseness, clarity and anecdotes.
  • Set aside for another day to free your mind for other insight
  • Later, review message and test it aloud. Tweak as needed, then draft an outline to rehearse with. Test it.
  • On another date, rehearse aloud in front of a mirror or your webcam.
  • Review for body language, pacing and clarity.
  • Rehearse one more time the day before or morning of gig.
  • C’s 2 -4 weeks out, review the audience need relevant to your message and remember you have much more insight than they can handle in one message.
  • Hone your message to what they need, not to what you want to share.
  • Instead of scripting it out, outline your main points.
  • Write out your introduction and conclusion.
  • Get on your feet and say your message aloud, reading your intro and conclusion but using only your outline to address the meat of your message.
  • Rehearse looking at yourself in the mirror while you talk. This will get you out of your head.
  • Next, rehearse again in front of your webcam while it is recording, paying attention not to the camera but to the room above and around it, as though it is your audience.
  • Watch recording to see when you are relaxed and enjoying or passionate about what you share, without going into too much detail. Tweak as necessary.

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