We were thrilled when 2021 seemed to be the year when COVID-19 would be under control. But even the best-laid battle plan rarely survives contact with the enemy. As we publish this week's tip, only 2.8 million doses of the vaccine have been administered-- far short of the 20 million predicted by the end of 2020. But 20,080,000 cases of COVID have been reported across the U.S. and over 350,000 deaths.
Although anxious for a return to normalcy, it doesn't appear to be quick or easy. For speaking success in 2021, we recommend the following: a combination of muscular intention with a healthy dose of patience. Far too often, clients call us at the last minute, hoping to construct an important presentation in a one-hour session, then rehearse it a couple of times, and deliver a brilliant performance. This is unrealistic. Perhaps it's Amazon Prime or Grubhub conditioning, where you order a book or meal and it magically appears.
Putting together a great speech, pitch or presentation requires focusing on what you want to achieve, fashioning a compelling opening, dividing your content into no more than three sections, crafting stories to highlight key points, and deciding on a memorable close. What sounds simple requires introspection, consideration of your audience, editing content, and rehearsal. Great presenters never "wing it."
Even with rehearsal, there are techniques to working off an outline, keeping your material fresh, and managing anxiety. Successful presenters also consider how best to deliver material in their own voice-- finding its highs and lows, maintaining energy, and balancing the content between emotional and rational. Honoring patience as an integral part of the process will ensure your success.