What do you ask yourself after delivering your presentation? One of the most important questions one should ask themselves is: Did I communicate my purpose? Every speech should have a purpose. If you aim to inform, inspire, persuade, or entertain, that purpose should be clear to your audience in the opening. When your goal is clear and identifiable, your speech or talk is easier to follow, evaluate, or judged. Audiences are more comfortable knowing where you are going and where you are taking them. Often, in that first minute of your talk, some listeners decide if they will lend you an ear.
When your attention is lost, it isn’t easily regained.
Although purposes are not mutually exclusive, they can be treated individually or jointly with others. Your presentation can be a combination of any of your reasons for speaking. However, whatever your primary goal is, it should be easily identifiable. Speakers should always be clear about what they want their listeners to think, feel, or do after hearing them speak. When a speaker’s goal appears unclear, that would quickly become evident to the audience. Your purpose must be as clear to your listeners as it is to you.
The vocal and body language used to communicate your purpose should exude confidence from the moment you step onto the speaking platform. If you wish to change someone with a five, ten, or twenty-minute speech, your chances of success are more significant when you choose a purpose and message you are passionate about. We all have experienced events worth sharing with the world. Ask yourself, what were the lessons learned from those events? When you can relive those experiences with passion from the heart, the world will listen.
Reliving those precious moments of your life takes dedication, preparation, and practice to be authentic and credible on the platform. Your style can make all the difference between success and failure to communicate effectively with that audience. Your presentation delivery should fit the occasion and dynamics of the room you are presenting to. The speaker’s energy, enthusiasm, passion, and confidence should be measured to hold your audience’s attention. The speaker’s attention should be on the audience, and the audience’s attention should always be on the speaker.
A foundational statement – (FS), or power phrase on which your speech is built, is a good starting point. Your FS statement should be short and laser-focused on your purpose and message. It should have your audience whispering to themselves – tell me more. When that powerful phrase or foundational statement resonates throughout your speech from start to finish, it anchors your purpose and message in the audience’s minds. When placed strategically in your presentation, it also reminds your audience about your stated goal.
A speech preparation outline is also essential before developing your rough draft. Sometimes, you may wish to inform and inspire an audience in a speech. In your preparation, an outline will help you stay focused on your FS. Your FS is your road map of where you are going and how you will get there. Every bit of information in your speech should relate to the main idea of what you are presenting. With an outline, the main thoughts and ideas you wish to communicate will be your main focus as you proceed to your first and, eventually, the final draft.
Holding your audience’s attention depends on how well they can follow your thoughts as your speech develops. Your ideas should be presented logically or in a pattern, making it easy for everyone to track. When you, the speaker, can see all of the main points and arrange and rearrange them in an order that makes the most sense to you and your audience, holding your listener’s attention becomes much easier as you transition between the different parts of your speech.
Smooth transitions before and after every section of your speech make listening to the entire presentation easier to understand. If your ideas are disjointed, you will leave unanswered questions in the minds of your audience. Every unanswered question becomes a distraction to your audience. Make sure every part of your speech flows seamlessly into the other. Transitions will also be most valuable as you begin practicing your delivery. When one idea flows into the next, you will notice how much more confident you are when delivering your final product. If your message is internalized, it’s unnecessary to memorize. Your delivery will have a natural flow as your presentation progresses.
Without a doubt, it’s the critical questions we ask ourselves after a presentation that will help speakers improve. Your self-evaluation is as essential to your development as the feedback you receive. Communication is not what is said. It is about what your listeners think you said. And because you have just one opportunity to get it right while on the speaking platform, you must never forget that clarity is king in public speaking. Don’t be afraid to ask – Did I communicate my purpose? And if the answer from you and your audience is a resounding yes! You have communicated your purpose.
[This blog has been reproduced here with permission from Henry’s blog site: https://henryomiller.com/2023/09/26/communicating-your-purpose/]