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.]

List on paper items to cover.

Prioritize by importance.

Group similar items.

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.

Stand Up

Be Brief


Read This

2/12/2001 Version