Voice & Speech Newsletter

Preparing an Effective Presentation

Strategies to Enhance Your Speaking Skills

Whenever someone asks for tips on presenting or public speaking, my first impulse is to say, “Prepare, prepare, prepare, prepare.” Many of the problems speakers encounter can be traced back to a lack of preparation. In fact, almost every speaker that walks into my office for coaching walks out with the realization that they weren’t nearly as prepared as they thought they were.

Having a script, an outline or a fancy slide deck does not make you prepared. Preparation goes far beyond content creation. Once your content is ready you might be halfway there—because, knowing your material is not the same thing as delivering the material. Those are two separate skill sets. You can know the material like the back of your hand and still hit a wall when it comes to communicating it clearly and effectively.

Format your notes so they actually help you. Speakers often try presenting from pages or slides that have large sections of small type and not enough white space. When the text is too dense on the page it’s very easy to lose your place and you’ll tend to keep your eyes glued to your notes. Use at least 14-point fonts and place small blocks of double-spaced text at the top, middle and bottom of the page. The rest will be white space. Your notes should support you, not distract you. And less is more.

Rehearse the speech. To be fully prepared, you must practice doing exactly what you’ll be doing when you actually give the speech. That means standing up and talking through your material, out loud. Reading over your notes is not rehearsal. If you make a video of your rehearsal, it gets even better. You will immediately discover what’s working well and what needs your attention. In a very short time, you’ll become your own coach.

Master the beginning and end. The opening and closing could arguably be the most important parts of your presentation, but they often get the least amount of preparation. Craft a compelling opening.

Recommended Video


Rehersal Power

Jay shares a personal experience that underscores the importance, and benefit, of rehearsing your speech.



Free SpeechMaster Class

Date and Time: Wednesday, November 14
7:00 – 9 :00 PM
Location: 434 Queen St East, Toronto, ON

Guest Instructor:
Evan Thompson, Evan Thompson and Associates
Topic:Gearing Up for Game Day


Two lucky attendees at the November 14th SpeechMaster event will receive either a complimentary coaching session with Evan Thompson or a free 90-minute consultation with Jay Miller. Winners will be drawn from a collection of names, submitted by those in attendance, and announced at the close of the evening.


Control your message. People remember very little that you say, perhaps 25% or less. Sometimes they remember stuff that doesn’t matter. Don’t leave it up to chance. Take charge of the process. Identify the crucial information they must retain. Develop strategies to reinforce that message. Words are weak. Use visuals, props and stories to drive it home.


Voice & Speech

434 Queen St. E., Toronto
416-922-6384 | www.VoiceAndSpeech.com

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