The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

January 24, 2014

Career Coach: Giving a speech? Prepare

If you saw the video, you know that it is painful to watch. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month, Hollywood director Michael Bay was a part of a scripted interview in front of an audience.

Soon after Bay got on stage, his teleprompter died. Bay was then forced to wing it. His on-stage host asked questions such as, "Where do you get your unbelievable ideas?" This was not a hard-hitting interview. Despite that, Bay was unable to answer the questions without the assistance of a teleprompter on which his answers were supposed to appear.

You cannot help but squirm when viewing the video. It is all but impossible not to feel badly for Bay. But, the teleprompter is not to blame. Bay committed a major communication sin when he took the stage. He was unprepared. He had not practiced enough. Unfortunately, his lack of preparation has led to a less-than-flattering video that is being viewed around the world.

Anytime you have the opportunity to speak in public, it is extremely important that you take that opportunity very seriously. Public speaking is one of the most effective ways to build your personal brand and your reputation. Impress the audience and they will remember you in a positive manner.

Regardless of the public speaking opportunity — a media interview, a presentation, the introduction of a speaker — there are five steps to successful communication you should follow in order to turn the opportunity into a major win.

Step One: Think and plan.When you are asked to deliver a presentation, do you go directly to PowerPoint and start working on slides? That is the last thing you should do. Step one involves planning and thought. Think about the event. Write down your thoughts and create an outline or road map. What type of communication activity is expected? What are your time limitations? Do you know the venue? How do you plan to impress the audience? Think first. Work on the details later.

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