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What to do before I speak?

Find the need of your audience and you will not waste a single minute of their time.

“Sir, we are looking for a motivational speaker for our event on Friday. May we invite you to speak to our group?”

“Sorry sir, I do not have any idea of what you can speak about. This is our first time. Maybe you can suggest. Or maybe, anything about leadership?”

I got an email from Ma. Cynthia Aquino. She asked three questions. And I like to address one today.

How do you choose your topic when you are asked to speak before a group especially if there is no theme given? Which is better – get to know the audience in advance or just stick to current events?

Most events have themes. Organizers love to come up with acronyms to make everyone remember the theme of the occasion. They do so in the absence of the most important reason for the event: the needs of people attending the event.

This is not so different to politicians who use the acronyms of their names as the acronyms of their programs. They begin in wordsmithing and end there. And that is wrong.

Do not craft a speech — or hold an event — if you do not know how it can change the lives of those people who are attending. You do not have to serve the need of everyone, but there is always a starving crowd which you can feed. Feed your crowd, not your ego.

I use an empathy map as a starting point. Then I interview the sponsors. And I see to it that I get to speak to some members of the audience. I ask them questions. I remember their names. Yes, I converse with members of my audience before I speak to them.

That’s how I make speaking simple.

You can do it too.


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About Jef Menguin

Jef Menguin is professional speaker on personal development, leadership, and innovation. He is also the president of Compass Center for Leadership and is responsible for the delivery of awesome workplace learning experiences.

He has trained thousands of leaders in the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, and Singapore.

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