Shirley Collingridge Wordsmith


So you've been asked to speak. . .

This is your big chance. The soapbox is yours. Finally, it is your turn to honour someone special or to deliver a critical message. Try not to worry. You are the best choice for the job or you would not have been asked. So why not enjoy your moment in the spotlight?

The date is three months away, yet you are already experiencing alarming physiological changes - increased heart rate, trembling, stuttering, headaches, and increased blood pressure. Maybe you are one of thousands who has nightmares of standing before a crowd of millions, clad only in pajamas (with a critical portion mysteriously missing), unprepared, unwashed, unshaven, and, horror of horrors - speechless!

We've all been there. Even professional speakers like the Wordsmith get nervous. To succeed, you must avoid a speaker's two worst enemies: panic and procrastination.

Speaking can be F U N - for the listeners and for the speakers too!

Prepare, don't panic. Here's how:

For Toasts - Simply jot down a few notes on the following:
  • Things you know about your subject - interests, hobbies, strengths, weaknesses, dreams. You probably know your subject better than anyone. That's why you were chosen to speak in the first place.
  • Ask yourself what is your special relationship with the subject. Are you a favorite cousin, parent, or best friend? What does this mean to you?
  • A special moment or occasion you shared with the subject - the funnier the better - go ahead and exaggerate a little. How long you will be in the spotlight. This information helps you plan the toast speech and serves as a welcome reminder that yours is only a small part of the festivities.

For Speeches - Answer the following questions:
  • Who is your audience? Investor? Coworker? Trainee? Board?
  • Why were you selected to speak and what is your area of expertise?
  • What is the purpose of the presentation?
  • What message would you like to convey?
  • How long will you speak?
  • Will you need handouts or visuals?

Shirley Collingridge, Wordsmith

Once you have answered those questions, take the next step.
  • Turn over your answers to a seasoned speech writer.
  • She'll work her magic and voila! - a professionally crafted yet very personal presentation.
What's next?
  • Ask your speech writer for some delivery tips.
  • Practice the speech. The more you practice, the less nervous you will become.
  • Change any words that don't smoothly roll off your tongue. Not all words work well for all people.
  • Now that you are prepared, enjoy the event. You've earned it!

Keep in mind the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt during his First Inaugural Address (1932):
". . . let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

For fun - not fear, contact the Wordsmith today.

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