3 ways to get a standing ovation

Learn to transform ho-hum presentations into electrifying speeches.

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Here are three tips to help you beat the blahs and earn applause the next time you take the stage:

1. Focus on outcomes. Former Eli Lilly speechwriter Rob Friedman warns that a presentation not tied to specific outcomes will be ineffective.

That’s why he advises against scripting a speech right away. Instead, first answer the question, “What exactly am I trying to accomplish?” For example, is it to sell, strengthen morale, defend an organization or offer a vision of the future?

Then ask, “What do I want my audience—employees, customers, investors or the public—to know, think, feel or do?”

Only when those are decided can you determine the information, arguments and supporting elements that will help your speech achieve your desired outcomes.

For example, Eli Lilly wanted its communications to build employee confidence that the future was bright despite declining revenue during Friedman’s last five years there.

“We focused our speeches on ‘reasons to believe’ in that future, including a sound strategy for survival and a pipeline of new Lilly medicines that would lead to growth in the future,” Friedman says.

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