Pre-Speech Beginnings Must be Planned

Want to make a great entrance when you are giving an important speech? Just ask Leslie Knope, political candidate for the city council in the fictitious Pawnee, Indiana, how to start a speech strongly…or how not to.

Knope, played by Amy Poehler in Parks and Recreation, was presenting to a crowd of 100 spectators and had a red carpet for her entrance to the speaker’s dais. But the red carpet didn’t go all the way to the stage; the floor, which was supposed to be a basketball court, had been changed to an ice rink; and her motivational music, “Get on Your Feet,” lasted 10 seconds and had to be replayed in spurts for her to reach the podium 90 seconds later.

Watch this snippet for a good laugh, and then learn the lessons about the pre-speech details.

Lessons to heed before you start speaking:

  • You are in charge of everything involved in your presentation. That includes your introduction, any music or media used, any props, the seating of the audience.
  • Make sure your introducer knows what you want him/her to say, can pronounce your name, and runs his/her words by you. In many cases you will have to make a few adjustments.
  • If you use music or multi-media in your speech, you must make sure you have the rights to do so. Intellectual property rights apply. I use videos that I have shot and edited. And on occasion, I use clips from movies that I have licensed for use in speeches from MPLA (Motion Picture Licensing Association). My music comes from artists who have given me permission (Jana Stansfield, for example) or I use audio written for my presentations and training sessions by Music Bakery.
  • Plan ahead for props not working or media not playing correctly. I have multiple backup systems to use if one of them fails, but am also prepared to continue the presentation without any AV.
  • Have a funny line prepared to use if you accidentally trip, drop something, or slip on the ice. I have several in my pocket to use. But I also don’t speak in ice rinks!

This entry was posted by Jean Palmer Heck in Free Tips, Good and Great Speeches. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback.

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