Speak Up: Lessons from Baseball
By Leslie Shields, CPC
“There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave and the one you wish you gave.”
So, you have been invited to speak at the monthly dinner meeting for the Chamber of Commerce. It’s your first engagement and you are beyond happy. The last presentation you attended was blah, blah, blah. You want your presentation to be a homerun. How do you get there? Consider using a baseball diamond as your playbook. Here’s what you need to do.
Start at Homebase. Close your eyes and visual the end result. Who is the audience? What do you want the audience to say about you and the presentation? What is the purpose of the presentation? How much time will you need to plan and design the presentation?
Move to First Base. Here you will build your story that has emotional punch. Identify 3-4 points to cover. Create a balanced presentation – what your audience wants to hear with what you have to say. Develop your slide deck. Choose images or graphics that are easily grasped and persuasive. Use a simple, single color. Use large fonts. Don’t forget charts and graphs.
Move to Second Base. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Record the presentation and listen to your tone and flow. Practice transitions from one point to another. Use polls, surveys and other tools to sharpen your focus. Prepare a 60 second introduction. Identify the equipment that you will need.
It’s Showtime at Third Base. Check equipment and room set up. State the objectives of the presentation more than once. Work the room. In other words, move around and do not get stuck in one place. Skip the jargon and buzzwords. Don’t be afraid of “pregnant pauses” (silence). Avoid reading from the slides. Prepare some questions to move the presentation forward. Communicate when Q’s and A’s will be addressed, but be flexible.
Move to Homebase to claim your homerun. If you have planned, designed and delivered effectively, you will have a homerun. Don’t forget to ask for feedback. Prepare for your next homerun.
A final note. . . Continue your momentum by trying these resources:
Join Toastmasters a non-profit educational organization that operates clubs for the purpose of helping members improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills.
Connect with a Speakers Bureau. Do your homework. Not all speakers bureaus operate the same. Essentially a speakers bureau looks for individuals with an established career, expert credentials in their field and a professional presentation that is polished and can be customized for various audinces.
About Leslie Shields, CPC
Leslie is the Wiz of Biz™ and President of Chevannes
Global Group. She has 20+ years’ experience as
a business owner and as a coach to corporations, solopreneurs, and small
businesses on the nuts and
bolts of starting and growing a business.