For those that already have a speech to present, but need focus, this is an exercise that seeks to organize material into digestible units. In playful Q & A, we identify the key takeaway points of the speech and organize them into powerful one-sentence bullets. Those bullets will serve as anchors as we construct material around them.
Workouts can occur at different stages of the process. If a student has a speech already fairly well-constructed, this session is about sharpening & expanding verbal and vocal expression, eye contact, pacing, and running the room. If the student is still refining his/her speech, the session drills speaking skills using the shorter bullet points developed in the previous sessions.
“Looking for Words and Images That Pop”
Here, we dive deeper into workshopped words, sentences, and stories, looking for ways to make each sentence feel like a seductive gift. This is both a writing and performance exercise.
“Going Too Far”
Sometimes speakers are afraid of being “too much” - too loud, too direct, too honest, too big, and the like. This session is about pushing those boundaries we set for ourselves and seeing what is on the other side.
For those who use slide decks, this session is like the “Chunking” session, but for the presentation slides. How can we turn the deck from a crutch to an effective teaching aid?
“Who is Your Audience?”
On our feet, we brainstorm in a Q & A session to identify the audience the client needs to reach. Who are they? What are their expectations? What do they need to hear? What are they afraid of hearing? What is the speaker's relationship with the audience members?
The answers to these questions will help the speaker craft a more authentic approach that appeals to his/her specific audience.
“What's Your Personal Connection?”
Sometimes audiences relate better to a speaker when they see how an idea affects the speaker personally. In this exercise, we look for additional sources of material that come from the speaker's personal experiences and stories which relate to the topic. Once we have identified a few leads, we'll explore them on our feet in a Q & A format.
Taking our material from earlier sessions, we'll work on creating “nodes” of audience interaction. Where can we take a teaching point and turn it into a question that the audience answers?
How can we make them feel like they are building the experience with us? This could involve call-outs to familiar faces, questions for discussion, polls, or other kinds of focused interaction that invite the audience to contribute to the session.
Even though the ice-breaker will be placed at the beginning of a speech, this is a session that happens after much of the speech is already in place. Once we have identified the audience, the material, and the speaker's relationship to it, we will work on a small story/activity that seeks to set the tone for the speech and introduces the topic.
Should the speaker need it, this session is all about arranging material into a coherent beginning, middle and end, as well as transitions.