Public Speaking: Writing Your Audience a PreSCRIPTion

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to take more control in delivering your next speech. Reading time: 3:48.

        The executive steps up to the microphone, flips open the cover of his prepared text, abruptly closes it and declares:  “Today I just want to speak to you from my heart.”


      After all, EVERY speech must be delivered “from the heart” or your audience will walk out on you –figuratively if you’re the boss or literally if you’re not. Their B-S meters are set too high to keep your voice in their ears.

        In my experience, executives most often eschew their written speeches for self-serving reasons like these:

1. The executive fears reading a speech makes him look less authoritative.
2. The executive didn’t have time to rehearse the speech.
3. The executive hates being chained down to a script that makes him sound too wooden.
4. The executive is visiting a new venue and isn’t used to the TelePrompTer.
5. The executive KNOWS what he wants to say and besides one idea always leads to another good idea.

      That’s why I am often asked to counsel executives who don’t want their scripts to show. I ask them to think of their script as if it were a preSCRIPTion. Think of this preSCRIPTion as a power tool that gives you even more control and authority in “treating”  your audiences.            As with any preSCRIPTion you can more fully target your message –the medicine– whether you need medicine to inform, reform, or conform;  whether you need medicine to convert, divert or avert;   whether you need medicine to agitate, motivate, or subjugate;  or whether you need medicine to provoke, promote, or protect.

PreSCRIPTions  Can’t Be Written Off the Cuff

        With your preSCRIPTion, you can more directly control duration (time of your speech).

        With your preSCRIPTion, you can more directly control dosage (tone of your speech).

      And with your preSCRIPTion, you can more directly control the overall treatment plan (strategic intent of your speech).

        That’s why effective preSCRIPTions are too important to be written solely on your heart; too important to be written solely on your shirt cuffs  (off the cuff);  too important to be written solely on your hands (a la Sarah Palin) and too important to be written solely on each of your finger tips a (la humorist Mark Twain).

      Yet executives want more physical control over their public speaking. And I give it to them.

      I ask executives to think of their written script as if it were a diving board. Think of bouncing your idea on that script –on that diving board.  Then at just the right time– SPRING that idea with a SPLASH, with a cannon-ball like force that soaks your audience in awe and wonder;  with showmanship and pizzazz to match. Here’s how:  Write out your speech but deliver parts of it without any notes. That’s called speaking extemporaneously.

      Speaking Extemporaneously Takes Preparation

         Soaking your audience  after bouncing on that diving board –speaking extemporaneously  “off the cuff”–  takes lots of preparation. Unlike   impromptu speaking ( off the top of your head).  With little or no preparation.

       Extemporaneous speakers do a lot more than write out their speeches word for word. They repeat key passages out loud to themselves over and over again in rehearsal as if they are mentally recording their voice. Then at key points in delivering their speech, they hit the  “play button” on their mental recorder.  Then they  “dive” into the laps of the audiences, expressing –without notes — what they had previously “recorded.”

      Diving into their audiences with a SPLASH than invigorates both speaker and audience.  These extemporaneous speakers must first conduct consummate research,   comprehensive planning, and  strategic concentration of the task at hand. And then when it comes time to perform, they look ahead. Not down. They know exactly where they are going, step by step.

     Just like following the directions of a preSCRIPTion to help their audiences more readily swallow their ideas.

Today’s ImproveMINT

Write a PreSCRIPTion to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

SUBSCRIBE: Have a Leadership Mint delivered to your E-mail every business day. It’s free. Just click the SIGN ME UP box in the upper left column.


1 thought on “Public Speaking: Writing Your Audience a PreSCRIPTion

  1. Pingback: Speak now or forever shut your mouth! « English with Dick and Jane

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.