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Don't Worry Be Happy
by Barbara Rocha

The reason we give a speech DON'T WORRY BE HAPPY

Do you worry you're going to forget your speech-just blank out? Do you spend hours thinking about what words you're going to use and hope you'll remember them? Do you wonder why you're the one who has to give this speech?

Give it a rest. This speech isn't about you; It's about reaching your audience and filling a need they have. Even if your message was assigned by your boss, if you're not filling their needs, you're wasting your (and their) time.

It's also not about impressing them. It's about meeting your audience's needs. Am I repeating myself?

It's not about communicating information, either. If you want to transmit information, write it, don't say it. Writing presents details more efficiently, can be filed for reference, and can be focused on without regard to the transmitter's demeanor.

Reassure your audience (by connecting with them) that the project is in good hands, that they are on the right track, and that they don't have to recheck your work. If you help them feel confident of your credibility you'll be 90% successful, never mind how specific the information is.

If you think it's about information, keeping your job, or people liking you, you focus on your words rather than your ideas. You focus on your notes rather than your message. Result? Wooden, mechanical delivery. No connecting with the audience.

Get real. Be human. Connect with your audience as fellow human beings, not as empty business suits. They have lives. They are human. Connecting with them helps them hear your message. And that's why you're there.

Sir Colin Marshall, former president of British Airways: "What is the essential element any successful leader absolutely must have? It can be reduced to one word, and a rather simple one at that: caring." Substitute the word "speaker" for "leader" and it's still true. "They need to know you care before they care about what you know."