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Recall, re-create and connect

Writing a speech is one thing, delivering it is quite another! Many speakers fall into the trap of not allowing enough time to do both. And you've heard the result: wooden, stiff speeches coming from experts who should be really owning their material. Here's why this happens again and again: putting together a good slide deck takes time, so does editing and revising the text. As the graphics-tweaking and word-smithing drags on, the speaker becomes distanced from the original intent of the message. So in the end, they have words on a page or screen. And that's what you hear. Words. Not a message, not the thoughts the words represent.

You want to avoid this kind of dull recitation, right?  Many people think they can sidestep this problem if they go light on their written prep: if I don't have written words, I won't read them! But preparation is key (here are two of my favorite blogs on the subject, from 
September 2103, and July 2014). So don't skimp on it! Write it down. Once you've crafted the content for your message, your challenge is to connect with your audience. So you have to get off the page, out of your head, and back into your heart and your gut. You need to invest time in the process of creation and re-creation. Ask yourself why you're presenting on this topic, then recall what you felt as you began crafting your presentation. The next step is to connect that feeling to the ideas represented by the words you chose. Put those feelings and images into a mental video that you play as you deliver the speech. You'll recall what sparked your need to communicate, and your listeners will feel that you are fully invested in your message.

This is what actors do; they convey the subtext, the unspoken feelings and ideas under the words that are the essence of the message. Of course, they do it with a twist. They convey someone else's mental video! So you, as a speaker or presenter, have it that much easier. But you won't own it unless you rehearse.