The foundation of every great presentation starts with the quality of the content you offer. There is no other public speaking secret that outsmarts this primary goal. Every other skill is a subset of this factor.
Your goal as a speaker should be to create quality content that your audience loves.
In this blog-post, I will show you what you need to do to develop quality content for your audience.
In my experience as a speaker, once I’m sure my content is rich, every other thing falls in place by itself. So I never joke with content. I love it. It is gold to me!
1. Find your voice
Are you always in the habit of ripping off information from manuals, books or online resources?
If yes, then I urge you to repent from this cut-and-paste attitude and take some time to find your voice.
Your voice is what you believe in, or what you stand for.
It comes from personal inventory and it is louder than the voices of your references.
It may originate from a personal experience, a problem you have identified, or a research you have carried out.
These are the ingredients that give quality to your content.
Once you overload your message with someone else’s voice, it automatically loses its impact.
Speakers who take time to find their voice always stand a greater chance of having a successful presentation.
To find your voice, brainstorm from personal inventory.
Brainstorming does not have to be a strenuous exercise. It is all about being in a quiet spot and writing as much as possible what you already know about your subject.
You can begin your brainstorming exercise by providing answers to “the journalist questions.” They include:
- What happened?
- Where did it happen?
- When did it happen?
- How did it happen?
- Why did it happen?
- Where did it happen?
Write every thought or idea that comes to your mind.
Ignore spellings and grammatical errors and get focused on putting everything in writing until ideas cease to flow.
Once you have finished writing, take a break and confront your list hours later.
Select those that you need and discard irrelevant ones.
As time unfolds, continue to think over your subject at odd moments; when you are bathing, when you are driving, or when you are in bed. More ideas will keep coming to your mind.
2. Go for research (Your content must grow)
When you must have exhausted information based on personal knowledge, expand it through research.
Researching on any topic nowadays is not as complex as it used to be in the past.
In this information age of ours, you can get information on almost every subject a mouse-click away.
When you research, seek reliable information from books, libraries, or internet resources. People are interested in extraordinary facts about ordinary things, so find out valuable information about your topic.
Research also helps you get supporting materials to validate or complete what you already have in your brainstorming package.
Tips for gathering information from online sources
- Turn over to a web search engine and type in the keywords of your topic. Google is appropriate.
- Open Windows in different links to have access to a vast variety of information at a time.
- Go through all the links to see if it relates to any information you are interested in.
- Copy the information together with their references and paste them on a virgin Word document. Do not go deep into reading the entire content when carrying out this exercise. Just skim through to help you decide if you will need it or not.
- Visit the Word file in your quiet time to select ideas relevant to your message. Remember to cite the sources where you got the information and give credit to the authors concerned. Take note when seeking reliable information because some sources may carry out-dated information that can play negatively on your credibility.
3. Show, don’t tell.
Having more information about a subject does not guarantee that your content will have quality. Great content include stories, examples, figures, tables, statistics and testimonies.
Examples are statements or narratives that throw more light to facts, opinions, or claims. When you state facts without citing an example that for visual clarity, it bores the audience.
Use imaginary examples and analogies to help listeners understand their claim.
For instance, a speaker who wants his audience to picture the intensity of noise pollution may use a hypothetical example like: “The sound produced by worn-out automobiles is like introducing a needle into someone’s ears.”
With this example, listeners can easily visualize what it feels like introducing a needle into someone’s ear.
Use facts, data, tables, figures and statistics
It is one thing to tell someone that something exists but more authentic to show the facts, data, figures and statistics to prove your point.
You need to use figures, graphs and data to grab audience attention and also cause them to believe your claims.
Content void of these little pieces puts your audience to sleep.
As caution, it is unethical to tamper with facts or falsify figures with the sheer purpose of persuading an audience.
People love to listen to stories so use stories in your content much as you can.
We will forget facts and figures, while stories will stand the test of time.
People easily connect to your message when you fill it up with personal stories. It makes you approachable, authentic and humane. It also reinforces the idea you are passing across.
A testimony is a spoken or written statement of the truth. They are sometimes our personal stories, a witness declaration, or the words of an expert or trained personnel.
Testimonies add colour and distinction to your presentation.
When you cite the testimony of an expert in a particular field, you borrow their credibility to make your message convincing.
Use compelling titles or topics
I know you’re probably asking yourself why taking the time to choose a topic matters in creating quality content.
Naturally people seem to pay attention to captivating headlines and subtitles.
As a speaker, it is your job to craft titles that are self-explanatory and strong enough to pull audience attention.
To do this, take advantage of online resources and find out how others have used keywords related to the subject you have at hand.
Does your title provide a compelling solution to a problem?
It is specific and makes use of numbers?
For example, if you are addressing an issue about dating and courtship, stay away from weak topics like: Successful dating and courtship.
Consider choosing a topic like: 5 Proven strategies to get a successful marriage partner. This way, your audience will gear up to what you have in stock for them.
Offering great content has never been easy, but if you strive to
- Find your voice
- Brainstorm from personal inventory
- Go for research
- Show and not tell
- Choose a compelling title
You would offer great content to your audience.
This makes you a brilliant speaker, even if you face other public speaking challenges.
A great speaker offers valuable content to her audience. That is the sole reason people gather to listen to you. They need great content, so strive to offer it to them.
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Go speak like a pro!