Researching Your Presentation

Get your facts straight
Don’t stand there saying, “I think so” or “I’m not sure.” Don’t lie and pretend to know something you do not. So spend time collecting and confirming your information. Too many public speakers are quick to present their opinions without providing clear substance. Avoid that trap.

Be careful of presenting hearsay as evidence – unless you preface it as that. You might interview customers for their comments or check with the front lines for their unofficial feedback. That is ok – but present it honestly. Do a quick search on one or a few of the Internet search engines to find some new insights on the topic of your presentation. These Internet ‘facts’ might not be confirmable so present them as what you found – ‘Stuff from the Internet’.

Test for relevance
Review your speech for relevance to your audience. After every statement that you plan to make ask yourself, “So what?” Because that is what your audience will be asking. If you cannot answer this question clearly and succinctly – then rework it or remove it from your speech. What do you want them thinking, “Yeah right on!” or “So what?”

Remembering your speech
The best public speakers do not memorize their presentation. Instead know your topic and the issues. Then make notes for yourself. But don’t read your speech. That is so boring. Instead write key words that remind you of your messages. Write your speech notes on index cards. That is much easier to handle instead of fumbling with a sheet of paper.

Rehearsing your presentation
Rehearse your speech on your feet at least three times. It is okay to rehearse parts of it in your car or sitting at your desk. But because you will deliver in on your feet – you rehearse the speech on your feet. It feels different when you speak on your feet. Get used to the feel of delivering your presentation. The best way to reinforce a set of skills is by repeating the pattern the way you plan to deliver. Golfers and musicians rehearse their patterns so the skills of the big day are natural to them.

The fear of public speaking
Studies show that our number one fear is the fear of public speaking. Hard to believe but it is more prevalent than the fear of death. If you have a fear of public speaking or feel some anxiety you are not alone. Even great speakers like Churchill experienced this fear. But he worked on his delivery skills so he could deliver even when he was nervous. I am a professional speaker who has spoken to audiences all over North America yet I also experience speech anxiety. The fear of public speaking might be with you forever. But your audience does not need to know.

Overcoming the fear of public speaking
In most cases the symptoms of the fear are not noticeable to your audience. You might feel terrified but your audience doesn’t know. There are several ways to get past speech anxiety. Focus on the success of your presentation. Before you step up to speak take a couple of slow deep breaths. Speak slowly. Don’t let it run away from you.

George Torok

Presentation Skills Training

Presentation Skills Coaching

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.


Richard I. Garber said...


You make excellent points in the first five paragraphs. But, then you went off on a tangent about fear, and used the tired old cliche that more people fear speaking than death. Professor Tania Smith in Calgary ranted about this back in 2009. If you are going to bring up the topic at all, then you should at least get some relevant statistics about your Canadian audience. See:


Fred Elliott Miller said...

Good Post, George!

I like the idea of asking, "So what?'

Also, I agree with practicing on your feet and out loud. In your "mind's eye" is not the same.


Executive Coach said...

I agree with the commenter. You had some very great points then you got sidetracked on fear. Fear of public speaking is a whole other blog or article.Other than your side track on fear, this was very helpful.

The note cards are an excellent tip as it helps to keep you on track and in order. I might add to number the note cards in case you drop them.

Additionally, I would add time yourself speaking out loud. People will be surprised how long the time can be when they are not used to timing.

George Torok said...

Agreed. I guess my mind jumped topic. Ha, good example of what not to do in your speech.