What is the goal of your presentation?
If you don’t know what you wish to achieve in your presentation your audience never will. – Harvey Diamond
What is the goal of your presentation? What is it you wish to achieve with your audience?
Reader’s Digest book titled, Write Better Speak Better, and Stephen E. Lucas from his book titled, The Art of Public Speaking, offer the following suggestions regarding speech aims. Bear in mind, a talk or presentation is often a combination of these. But, no matter what the aim, you should be able to state the essence of your talk in just one sentence.
TO INTEREST OR AMUSE THE AUDIENCE
You act as an entertainer. The only goal is to make the audience chuckle or laugh.
Example: The Top Ten Excuses for arriving home late from work.
TO INFORM OR TEACH THE AUDIENCE
You act as a teacher or lecturer. Your goal is to convey information – and to do so clearly, accurately and in an interesting manner.
Adds to audience’s knowledge, but is not intended to change or strengthen their opinions.
Example: How to be an effective leader.
TO STIMULATE OR IMPRESS
You act as a cheerleader, advocate, (or the opposite), to help the audience better understand and appreciate a given situation or topic.
Example: The positive aspects of the public school systems.
TO CONVINCE OR PERSUADE
You act as an advocate or a patrician. You go beyond giving information to espousing a cause.
Presents a problem, proposes solutions, and through a progression of carefully reasoned steps, rouses the listeners to action.
Example: Importance of teaching children how to make decisions for themselves.
Toastmasters has 15 Advanced Communication manuals. Within each of these advanced manuals, five individual projects all focus on a single, specific theme to help improve speaking skills in that particular area. Some of them are: Speaking to Inform, The Professional Speaker, Technical Presentations, and Communicating on Television.
WHY COULDN’T HE GET HIS BOOK PUBLISHED?
Here is a personal experience of speaker Mary Ellen Drummond
“Not too long ago I was talking with a man at a party who told me that he had written a book…a very long book that required years of his time. He complained that he was unable to get the book published after innumerable attempts. I asked him to tell me the main idea, or theme, of the book. He began to tell me, and after five minutes or more my eyes were beginning to glaze over. I had no idea what he was talking about. If he couldn’t tell me the main idea of his book how could publishers or readers understand his thinking? Having something to say and saying it in a way that readers or listeners will understand is critical to any presentation, book, speech or report.”