Over the last decade I have performed public debates and speeches in four countries and three continents in a variety of venues ranging from two-person rooms to theaters with hundreds of spectators to the maximum security wing of the Oregon State Penitentiary. In all those speeches and debates, I learned one critical lesson: public speaking and persuasion are all about the basics. In this month’s feature, I will present a basic technique that will help you grow in your public speaking skill and confidence level.
At this point in my life, I have lost track of the countless presentations and speeches that I have endured where by the end I had forgotten what the speaker was presenting about. We have all been through speeches that quickly go off-track or are so poorly structured that they cause the audience to be lost. One of the easiest ways to avoid being that speaker is to use the simple “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them” technique, otherwise known as the “tell them” approach. In this month’s feature, I will be talking about how to use this effective technique.
The goal of the “tell them” approach is to make sure that the audience knows what the speaker is talking about at all times. The first step is to tell them what you plan on talking about. For example in this blog I am talking about the “tell them” approach and clearly stated that in the introductory paragraph. This allows the listener to know what to expect, freeing up bandwidth that would have otherwise have been spent trying to determine the main point of the presentation.
Once you have told the audience what you plan on telling them, you actually have to tell them. As you tell the audience, make sure that you stay on track and organized. Part of this is ensuring the audience knows where you are going. When I started this paragraph, I explained to the reader that we were going to talk about the “tell them” part of the strategy in this paragraph.
Lastly, you have to tell the audience what you told them at the end. All you need to do is to state the three main points that you discussed. This is especially important in longer speeches or speeches during a conference where due to the duration of speaking, the audience may not have given their full attention during the entire speech.
In summary, today we talked about the use of the “tell them” approach in public speaking. We talked about how you tell the audience what you are going to tell them, then you tell them, and lastly you tell them what you told them. Hopefully this simple technique can help improve your public speaking skills and confidence.