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Powerful Communication:  Giving Your Words Impact


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Column #6:  Organizing the Body

  Q  I like your four-step approach to speech structure, but I still get stuck on step three.  Any ideas?            

                                   − K.B., La Jolla, CA
       

 

To review, the Milo Four-Step Approach detailed in my last column [posted on my website if you missed it] is:

(1) Capture their attention
(2) Transition to your topic
(3) Present the body of your material
(4) End with a capper
.

The majority of the delivery time is in step three – the body.  The first thing you want to do is outline or graph out your material at a very high level − no details.  All you are trying to do at this point is determine if your body is truly on one topic or if you have subtopics with detail points. 

For instance, you might feel like you have about twelve things to cover, but when you mind-map them (my recommended technique), you see that you actually have five topics about sales, three topics about office issues, and four about legal compliance.  Conversely, there may truly be no connection between your points, other than that all twelve fall generally into the category of customer complaints.  Already your body section is taking shape by recognizing such patterns (or lack of any).

In the latter situation, you have one large body section (and, no, I don’t mean that one hanging over your belt).   In the first situation, you have three miniature body sections and each one can be treated as its own body and organized separately − and usually more easily now.  All you have to do is extend your transition to explain that you’ll be talking about three topics over the course of the meeting and start with the first one.  For now, imagine you’ll choose one of them to plan first and then continue with my logic.

Within any body section, look for a theme that connects them so that there is direction for your time on this section.  There are numerous ways to do this:

1)       Chronology.  Discuss the different points in the order in which they occurred.

2)       Magnitude.  Organize to discuss more global issues (e.g., company direction) down to very local ones (microwave spills).  Or vice versa.

3)       Dimension.  Start with the stuff that feels big (installing a new email system) and work down to little stuff (announcing a new coffee vendor).

4)       Acronyms.  Silly as they seem, if you can get your five sales points to spell out T-R-E-A-T and then announce that pizza will be on you for all who make quota this quarter, you’ve got a great body (without even Jazzercizing!)

5)       Something else.  Sorry to be so vague, but there are many other ways to do it and if you think you’ve found one, you’re probably right.

6)       N-points.  If you can’t find a through-line, it’s still okay to simply fall back on the theme “Five points we need to discuss about sales”, though you might want to pep that up a bit. 

Once you lay out how the body will be framed, you may be surprised how easy it is to fill in the gaps til your presentation is ready to roll.

 

Milo Shapiro, interactive motivational speaker and
speaking coach/trainer, is the author of
“Public Speaking: Get A’s, Not Zzzzzz’s!”  

More on Milo’s coaching & training
at www.PublicDynamics.com
and as a speaker/teambuilder at www.IMPROVentures.com

Click to see a free preview and/or buy a copy of
“Public Speaking: Get A’s, Not Zzzzzz’s!”

 

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A favorite coaching testimonial:

 

Testimonial from Dr. John Jenrette,
CEO, Sharp Community Medical Group

        "I’ve participated in many programs on speaking skills over the years, but this was my first time trying individual executive coaching on the topic − and what a difference!  Your working directly with me advanced my knowledge and abilities to a level that group lessons never could.

         "The one-on-one approach allowed you to focus solely in areas where I needed development as a CEO speaking to my organization.  Together, we determined areas in which growth would benefit me and you tailored exercises directly relevant to programs that I give, setting that growth in motion.

        "The most definitive moments of payoff were after you worked with me on specific upcoming programs.  Your ability to help me find more powerful words, streamline my ideas more effectively, build stories with strong imagery, and communicate the final speech in a dynamic style is making an impact on my audiences.  After my presentation this week, I had two doctors came up to me and tell me how much they enjoyed my presentation.  Doctors!  A tough bunch to impress! 

         "I had confided in a colleague that I'd hired a coach.  The day after the presentation, he approached me to say he’s seen a noticeable improvement in the quality of both my material and performance.  He also said he could see that audience’s attention was decidedly stronger than in the past. "

         (Please click to see the whole letter from Mr. Jenrette)

 


Here's an email from Dr. Jenrette six months later:

 

Milo,

I am getting great feedback at my most recent talks and lots of questions on how I did this.

Today I presented at the Sharp Leadership conference to tell people how I was a “Learning Leader".  I told the story of how I wanted to improve my presentation skills and how I hired a speaking coach with improv skills and demonstrated some of what I learned and gave a hugely successful presentation.

Mike Murphy, the CEO of Sharp HealthCare, told me there are going to be lots of people who want to find out who I worked with and there were lots of congratulations afterward.

Our Director of the Six Sigma team here at Sharp HealthCare texted me (during the meeting!) and he has been looking for a way to improve his team of black belts on presentation skills, facilitating their work groups, etc., but he had not found anything very innovative. He and I talked after the meeting and you'll be hearing from him soon!

Thanks again, Milo and I have a feeling there will be more interest coming from Sharp.   Happy to let you know that we're already working on bringing you in to give your keynote "Public Speaking: Get A's, Not Zzzzzz's!" for a larger group so we can gauge interest in more coaching around Sharp.  Hope you have time in December for that.

John E. Jenrette MD

John E. Jenrette MD

Chief Executive & Medical Officer

Sharp Community Medical Group

 

 

 
 

 

Coaching Praised by:

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Int'l Association of Admin. Professionals

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Also, coaching to other professional speakers like:

Vilis Ozols
Sarita Maybin
Liz Goodgold
Jennifer Sedlock
Kara Sadler
Colette Carlson
Barbara Sanfillippo
 

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