Get to the Point
Have you ever been to a painfully bad seminar with audience members murmuring to each other…?
· “What was that about?“
· “He was all over the place today.“
· “What was her point?“
These are symptoms of a speech that had no clear objective and was not focused on achieving that objective. The third project of Toastmaster stresses the importance of clearly identifying your target objective, and then maintaining precise focus to achieve it and is aptly named as “Get to the Point”.
Every speech must have a general and a specific purpose. A general purpose is to inform, to persuade, to entertain or to inspire. A specific purpose is what you want the audience to do after listening to your speech. Once you have established your general and specific purposes, you'll find it easy to organize your speech. You'll also have more confidence, which makes you more convincing, enthusiastic and sincere. Of course, the better organized the speech is, the more likely it is to achieve your purpose.
Getting to the point
The first task is to get to the point. Before we generate an outline or first draft, we have to know the purpose precisely. Best way is to make sure we can state it in a single simple sentence.
A common pitfall is to choose topics which are too broad; remember that the time is limited. This can be challenging, but if we adopt the practice of determining the purpose before writing anything else, this part will be easy.
Staying at the point
The next phase is the most harder part, staying focused at the point. This is a part which many speakers struggle badly. Speaker doesn’t intend to stray from the path, rather it happens unintentionally in an attempt to elaborate the point
While writing the first draft to the final draft, we try to incorporate many ideas and explanation to elaborate the speech. While doing so, quite frequently, un-intentionally, we introduce a collection of off topic elements.
- It might be an off-topic opening anecdote which is “too good not to share”.
- It might be some jaw-dropping statistics (trying to garner attention) that are only remotely related to the topic.
- It might be the latest whiz-bang effect in PowerPoint that is glitzy, but content-empty, sometimes not in sync with the speech structure.
These extraneous elements should be found and eliminated from the speech while editing. Each time you edit your speech, your goal should be to sharpen the focus.
Remember the core message
Core message is the central idea of the presentation / speech. All other speech elements should support the core message.
Clarity: Aim to express the core message in a single sentence.
Passion: Your core message must be something you believe in.
· Knowledge: What do you know about this core message? Can you draw stories from personal experience? Have you researched the topic?
We like to believe that our entire presentation will be remembered. The reality is that the audience will retain only one or two points, which catches their attention. Your speech should be designed to ensure that your audience remembers your core message.
My speech – Project 3