Create Your Own Public Speaking Inspiration!
“The Way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”– Walt Disney
Professional writers know that if they waited for inspiration to write, they would starve. Regardless of how a writer feels about a subject or whether they are in the mood to write on a topic or just plain tired, writers know they must still write to make a living.
As a speaker, you may have encountered this challenge. You may not be in the mood to write that speech. Even if you have written the speech, you may not feel up to practicing it. And if you have written your speech and practiced it, you may not be in the mood to deliver it. So I call it the Speaker Mood Challenge.
Below are three methods you can use to overcome the Speaker Mood Challenge.
Divide and Conquer
I went to a vocational and trade high school. In electronics shop, I troubleshooted car radios, desktop radios, and TVs, developing repair solutions, and implementing those solutions. I remember our electronics shop teacher telling us the way to troubleshoot problems in electronics was to “divide and conquer.”
“Divide and Conquer” has a direct analogy to your next speaking project. It can sometimes seem overwhelming when you are faced with a speaking project. Where do you start?
Although some speakers “dive right into” writing their presentation, let me suggest you try the “divide and conquer” method of presentation development.
The “divide and conquer” concept says any big project is comprised of several other small projects that can be developed separately and then integrated into a whole project.
Think about it. What makes a presentation? There are five parts of every presentation: (1) attracting your audience’s attention, (2) delivering a summary of what you are going to talk about, (3) delivering the body of your presentation where you cover your main points (make them three main points) with supporting material, (4) presenting a summary of what you talked about, and (5) delivering a closing that causes the audience to think about what you said and how they can apply it. That’s it!
You might remember from your high school English class; in writing a composition, it is always wise to start with the body of the composition rather than the opening paragraphs. Why is this so? Because in the writing of the body, you may change the main points. If you write your opening first, you would have to change it.
The same method is preferable when you develop your presentation. Start with the body. The first thing you should do is establish your main points. These three main points are the “skeleton” of your presentation. As you add material supporting the three main points, you are “adding flesh” to your presentation.
Once you are satisfied with the body of your presentation, you can concentrate on the other four parts of your presentation.
Believe me. This method works!
“Divide and conquer” is an excellent method to use in developing a presentation. However, you still need to build your presentation content.
Re-Purpose Your Content
Hopefully, you have a speaking niche in which you talk. A speaking niche is an area of expertise in which you speak. Examples are World War II history, social issues, and project management.
Within your speaking niche are several related topics. These topics have common “threads” between them. Re-purposing your content means you are borrowing these common “threads” to produce the content of your latest speaking project.
For instance, I have a program entitled “Great Speaking is Critical to Great Leadership.” There are many common “threads” between leadership and networking which is another area on which I speak. I borrowed material from my “Great Speaking is Critical to Great Leadership” program to create my new program, “Great Speaking is Critical to Great Networking,” in a fraction of the time it would take to start from scratch.
You know there is only so much time to develop your presentations. You know you must use material from your prior presentations to complete presentation projects on time.
Another example of repurposing content is my weekly newsletter. The chapters of my book, Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations, published by Koehlerbooks in January 2021, came from my weekly newsletters I wrote from June 2019 to May 2020. Without repurposing this newsletter content, I might still be writing my book.
Long-time readers of this newsletter will notice there are recurring themes in my newsletters. I repurpose my newsletter content to write new newsletters.
It is essential to understand; I don’t simply cut and paste content from my previous newsletters. Instead, I take ideas from past newsletters and put a new twist on the content to serve my purpose in the new newsletter.
“Divide and conquer” and repurposing your content are great ideas for developing new speaking material.
However, how do you develop the motivation to sit down and develop and practice your presentation? You use the Act “As If” principle.
Act “As If”
You know by now, if you wait until you are in the right mood to develop your presentations, you would never deliver them.
It is common knowledge action follows thought. However, it is not common knowledge that thought also follows action. To invoke this principle, when faced with a speaking project, just start whether you want to or not. Just by starting, you will change your mood concerning your speaking project.
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale of The Power of Positive Thinking fame, calls this the “Act as If” principle. Activity always helps to change your mood.
One of the obstacles that keep you from developing your presentations is evaluating your work when creating it. Unfortunately, this is never a good recipe for accomplishment.
Realize there is are two processes working here. The first process is development production. The second is development evaluation. The trouble occurs when these two processes are being accomplished at the same time.
When I develop my newsletters, I always write from my stream of consciousness at the time. I am concerned with quantity, not quality. I am concerned with production. I need to produce enough material so that I can evaluate it.
After I have completed the first draft of my newsletter, I wait a day or several hours until I evaluate the material. The break gives me insights into my writing I did not see when I initially wrote the copy. This has been a winning formula for me.
I take advantage of the “Act as If” principle to write these articles, develop my presentations, and practice delivering my presentations.
You can take advantage of the “Act as If” also to produce more content and presentations!
So, “divide and conquer,” repurpose your content, and “Act as If” to overcome the Speaker Mood Challenge. You only have to do this if you want to greatly accelerate your speaking success!
Call to Action
“Divide and Conquer” method to develop your presentations
Repurpose your previous content to get more done in less time
Use the “Act If” to motivate yourself into producing great concept
“The Pessimist Sees Difficulty In Every Opportunity. The Optimist Sees The Opportunity In Every Difficulty.”– Winston Churchill
Frank DiBartolomeo is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and award-winning speaker, presentation and interview skills coach, and Professional Member of the National Speakers Association. He was awarded Toastmasters International’s highest individual award, Distinguished Toastmaster, in 2002 because of his outstanding work in public speaking and leadership.
Frank formed DiBartolomeo Consulting International (DCI), LLC (www.frankdibartolomeo.com) in 2007. The mission of DCI is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence their colleagues and other technical professionals through improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence. Frank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (703) 509-4424.
Don’t miss Frank DiBartolomeo’s latest book!
“Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”