PREPARING A TALK
Preparing a Talk
Think out what it is that you want to say. Prepare items to show. Practice
speaking aloud in a room by yourself. Give your talk in full before a mirror.
Ask a friend or relative to listen to your talk and solicit their comments.
Giving a talk is like telling a story: it has a beginning, a middle and an end. Every thing
should be consistent - names, capitalization, tense, singular/plural, all remain the
same throughout. One talk description is: "say what you're going to say; say it;
say what you said." In other words, a talk is a unit composed of three
parts: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion.
A useful thing to keep in mind is the three framework steps: Greeting,
Highlighting, and Interacting. Greeting can be as simple as
saying "My name is ________ and the title of my talk is _________."
Highlighting is not stepping on your message by going overboard and
continuing to talk and talk until everyone has really forgotten that the thing
you are trying to do is convey the importance of a single main idea.
(Exercise: rewrite the preceding sentence. Make the notion conveyed as
concise as possible. Use one or more sentences or clauses (items set off by
commas, colons, semicolons, the ":" and ";" symbols). Remember sit down:
stop talking when you've said what you intended. Interacting happens
sometimes if the speaker encourages it by asking if there are any questions or
comments at the formal talk-conclusion.
To convey authority it is a good idea to put things together in threes.
[Example grouping three items follows; similar material below has four things:
five would feel more authoritative. As long as the number of listed items
exceeds two our culture responds, seeing the grouping as solid.
Such a statement supports and strenghthens its heading.]
The next few items offer reminders to those who've been in course
sessions. They can be read to get an idea of what others have said about
speaking. Stand lists a few does and don'ts. The title of Be
Brief says it all (see how much longer you can make the content).
Absorb describes using communications to build teamwork: a group doing
more together than the individuals could by themselves. Read This is the
text of a talk by L. Bragg giving advice on how to speak about science.
2/12/2001 Version www.cs.ucla.edu/~klinger/three.html
List on paper items to cover.
Prioritize by importance.
Group similar items.