Nobody Becomes a Great Speaker Without a Little Structure by Brenda R. Bryan

Are you afraid of public speaking?

Statistics show that it’s the number one fear people have. Is that what stopping you?


Trust me. I get it.

All those “what if’s.”

What if I stumbled on my words? What if I don’t know what to say? What if my subject is boring? Who wants to hear about widgets?

The people who need them, that’s who!

Well, are widgets “your thing,” and do they serve your clients? Then there is a way to bring them to your clients in a way that they want to know more. A well-crafted message comes from structures you can get into and stories that show value to your client.

Here is a roadmap of everything you need to know about preparing your first speech or presentation. This advice will serve you for an entire career. It’s not necessary to memorize your whole presentation. It should have a strong opening and a good close. The middle part will fill with stories of results you have helped your clients with.

Of course, it helps if your message is of interest and value.

Your introduction, which you write yourself, gives the audience your credentials. Your name, company, mini bio, and speech title will be advertised to their members.


Preparing Your Speech. What Do I Talk About?

Your experiences. Talk about what you know and what you have learned from your work that could interest the audience. (Remember: You know things others don’t!)

Begin by asking yourself these three questions:
• Who is my audience? 
• What do I know about the background or collective personality of the group?
• What do I know that can benefit them? (This is where you get to be brave and brag about your experience and how that translates to your clients.)

How long will I speak? They will tell you. Most likely 15 -30 minutes.
You need to choose your interests and decide who you want to talk to.


Creating Content for your Speech. Where you find it.

Most people get into writing a lot of different speeches. This is a time-consuming process and causes many issues when you’re speaking to sell.

One of the issues is confusion when you change topics, and your audience needs help understanding what you’re talking about.

Second, when you stay in one lane, you’re more able to gain financial traction when people hear your expertise. You will be presenting on a topic with sub-topics, so don’t get locked into it being boring. Trust me, how you bring your craft and personality to the stage changes everything.

And third, why make life more complicated? Get focused, have fun, embody your message to have the most significant influence and impact, and enjoy connecting with your clients.

Is it part of your fear that you’ll constantly change your presentation and not embody your true message?

You should have an umbrella topic that you can break down into 5-7 different issues, covering how you get results with your clients. You get to serve your ideal clients and deliver value while staying focused on what you love.

I work from the idea that one well-crafted presentation will support your clients and build your business.

Thinking of your ideal audience, start by keeping a yellow pad handy to jot down ideas and situations related to your topic. Make a list of what you know can benefit them, all the experiences and situations that could serve as good (or bad) examples for others, high points and low points, failures and successes. Every day ask yourself, “What happened of interest that may add color to my speech?”

Have you said something to a friend or client that was particularly funny or memorable? Whenever possible, keep track of stories that relate to your clients’ experiences from your own experience so it will be easy for you to remember. Some of these experiences may become stories you use to illustrate a critical point in your speech. When you sit down, outline your speech; you’ll have plenty of material.


How Do I Outline My Talk?

According to Patrica Fripp, a world-renowned Speakers Coach, two foolproof outlines work well for both beginning and advanced speakers.

When working with my clients, I have a ‘climbing the mountain’ formula that builds your story from how you relate to circumstances to what you do to serve your ideal clients.

Let’s work with the material below; it is a great way to get your thoughts in order.

The Past-Present Journey Formula:

There are many ways to add color to your presentation.

Tell your audience a three-part story:
• This is where I was.
• This is where I am.
• This is how I got here.

It’s a simple format that helps you tell the audience who you are and why you are qualified to speak on your chosen topic.

Here’s an example of how effective the outline can be. Shana is a successful Women’s Lifestyle Coach who started the non-profit Firmina Foundation, which provides infrastructure, school material, and support to empower children in outlining villages in Mozambique for them to believe in the future.

After talking with her, I suggested she focus on her story as a refugee, sitting under the mango tree, which served as her school, forming her words in the dirt.

She now raises thousands of dollars annually to build schools, hire teachers, etc.

Right away, the audience could relate to her purpose in starting the foundation and related to her request for donations.


The Q&A Outline:

Your audience members will want to know the answers to the same kinds of business questions you’re asked at parties or professional functions. In that case, I suggest you begin with a comment about your business and then, “The five questions I’m most frequently asked about… (What results can I expect after I work with you? How does your course differ from others? What If: I have this issue? How does your work help with that? How do I buy a house if all the other mortgage brokers told me it can’t be done?… Etc.

You know what you are being asked; write out your answers.

Then, pose the first question to the audience and answer it conversationally, just as you would with a potential customer or at a party. Even though you may have never delivered a speech before, you’ve certainly had plenty of experience answering questions in your field, about your hobby, or a cause you are interested in. 

An outline is essential to prepare your speech. This is because an outline gives you the structure you need to organize your talking points and make them memorable to your audience.


How Do I Write My Speech?

That’s easy. To begin with, don’t. Gather and organize your thoughts, script your opening and closing, and rehearse to become comfortable. You don’t need to write your presentation down word for word because a speech that is read is not appreciated in this format. For now, jot down an outline with key points and ideas on a notepad.

The focus is best placed on your opening and your closing. Everything else will come from knowing your clients’ questions and putting yourself in their shoes.

I teach many different ways to craft your message, but for now, let’s get started with getting past your fear. Try working with one of these structures and see what fits you. We have the knowledge that comes from working with our clients. What we have never done is write it down, capture the feedback as it comes, and use it to remind ourselves that we have an impact. We are getting better and better at what we do, and our clients have the words we need to own this. So, ask your clients what you have done for them, and put it in a file folder.

Keep growing your confidence around knowing you are helping others. Our soul and spirit have a great purpose for us, so we must move past the fear and step into our strengths and purpose.


Where are the Speaking Gigs?

I get asked this a lot. After doing all this great work, where will I use this presentation?

My answer to that is Google Is My Friend 🙂

Every service club and community group, women’s organization, and corporation are looking for a free speaker almost every day of the week. These opportunities are both in-person and on Zoom. You get the point! You have resources; look for groups you can serve and know they are your potential clients.

I was encouraged to speak by my first coach. After two talks, I realized, “This is the most fun and inexpensive way to build my business!”


How Do You Get Invited?

Tell everyone you know that you are willing and available to speak. Take advantage of the networking opportunity and invite guests – perhaps friends, supporters, or happy clients.

Lean into your desire to create impact, influence, and success. The fear might still be there, but your desire will be greater than your fear. Take action, and the fear will get smaller.

I am here for you if you need accountability, feedback, or help to get this done.

It is worth what you put into it. Life can get more manageable when you raise your visibility and income by taking charge of your voice and choosing to be a skilled speaker. You will fast-track your growth at the same time.

I offer a 30-minute consultation if you want to create a plan to move forward. Go to my scheduler

You can even place quotations!

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