A successful talk is one that effectively delivers the intended message to its target audience. One action that professional speakers make to ensure this happens is the polishing of their message. If you want your talk to successfully reach your listeners, then you have to make sure that they can better understand what you want to give them as take-home lessons.
You can do this by polishing your message so that it zeroes in on specific key ideas rather than on general concepts. Remember that your audience is intently listening to you hoping to learn something that will benefit them. They need more particular details that will be useful to them.
Here are six important tips on how you can polish your message and make it a greater message for your audience.
1. Make brevity and clarity your major guides.
Some speakers try to impress their audience by overloading them with detailed facts. Yes, you want to be as accurate with your information as much as possible but sometimes too much information is just overwhelming. One good alternative to this is to have handouts ready where all the details you may want to put in is included. In your talk you may just highlight the key points of your information and refer them to the handouts for more details. This will make your information easier for your listeners to digest and will allow them to pace themselves in acquiring more knowledge about it.
2. Remember to keep it interesting as well.
Brief need not be terse and clear need not be boring. In your desire to make your presentation concise and well-defined, you may run the risk of being curt and uninspiring. Some beginning professional speakers fail in their mission to engage their audience by losing their attention within the first few minutes of the talk. This does not mean that their message had no value. It was just unfortunate that the audience was not able to listen long enough to discover its worth.
3. Keep focused on the main message.
Avoid being tempted to go into sidebars and footnotes while delivering your main message. Try to stay on track of the key points you have set out to accomplish. While it is indeed quite tempting to enhance your key points with additional information, you run the risk of setting off on a tangential curve that veers away from your main message and ends up confusing your audience all the more.
4. Try to make your message personal.
What might be more relevant and would help reinforce your message would be to relate personal situations that illustrates your key points. This helps your audience appreciate more what you are saying because they may find themselves being drawn to the personal quality of your talk. This will get them to understand the key points better and in the end may very well help them realize the value of your overall message as well.
5. Lead your audience with a call to action.
As you lead your audience in a journey of knowledge discovery, make sure you also lead them to take action and steps you want them to make. This call to action should lead them to the next step in their quest for information and should reinforce the message that you have given them. This will add more credibility to your stature as an expert and will be appreciated by your listeners since they will have the chance to further their understanding of the message they have acquired. If, as mentioned in #1, you have prepared handouts with more details about what you discussed, make sure you remind them to get their copy. You may also have a book that expounds your message more than what your handout contains and which they can buy at a special price. Or maybe you want them to sign up on your website or blog so that you can provide them with continuing education on the topic you presented. This is the right moment for you to make your pitch.
6. Be sensitive so as not to offend.
Lastly, this is an important area you have to be careful with. You can easily lose your audience or maybe even turn them against you if you happen to inadvertently get into topics that they find offensive. There are sensitive subjects like money, religion, politics, and culture that would require extra sensitivity on your part. Sometimes even your choice of words may trigger some negative reactions from your audience. Make sure you have a good grasp of your audience’s profile and demographics or better still avoid treading on delicate areas as much as you can.
These are just some tips to help you refine and polish your talk so that your message comes across as clear, interesting, and inspiring as possible.