The motto “Keep It Simple, Stupid” is helpful to remember as you’re asked to break down complex issues to a broad audience. But as Vice President Kamala Harris frequently reminds us, you can be too simple and compromise your message. Or worse, insult your audience.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here’s how DMG recommends you prepare for your big moment — speech, spontaneous Q+A session, TV hit — without compromising your message or losing the audience:
#1 — Prepare in advance.
No one is a natural behind the mic. It’s true that some people are better at it than others, but those who make it seem “easy” have prepared in advance. You’ll notice that the VP makes her biggest mistakes when she’s speaking off-the-cuff. Knowing what you want to say and having a fallback phrase or talking point to come back to if you start to lose your train of thought can prevent a situation like the VP’s viral “passage of time” clip.
#2 — Practice out loud.
Once you’ve finalized your speech or talking points, practice saying the words out loud and without notes. If the final version of what you plan to say doesn’t allow you to use notes, then you have to practice without notes. You’ll find that when you practice out loud, you’re better able to internalize the content which results in a smoother delivery.
#3 — Hire DMG!
We help prepare people all the time for keynote speeches, townhalls, TV hits, panel discussions, etc. Each format has different rules and requires different speaking skills, and so we work to prepare our clients as best as possible by talking through all of the verbal, vocal, and visual considerations. Yes, there are tips and tricks to delivering a good message and then staying on message when you’re asked questions you didn’t anticipate, but what it ultimately comes down to is preparation and practice.