““Oratory is just like prostitution; you must have little tricks.”” – Vittorio Emanuele Orlando

In “I Can See You Naked,” Ron Hoff’s key insight about public speaking is this: You are being asked to speak because someone believes you have something valuable to say to the audience, something that will help them. You have to decide for yourself if that is true. If the answer is “yes,” you must stay focused on that – and only that. Don’t worry about seeming smart or experienced. In fact, don’t worry about yourself at all.

Your audience doesn’t really care about you. They are there – at some personal effort and expense – to learn something valuable. You have something valuable to tell them. (You’ve already decided that.) So just focus on helping them . . . on giving them what they want from you.

In terms of content, don’t bother telling them what others think unless it somehow relates to your own ideas. The most important ideas in your presentation should be yours. You should have a stake in them. You should care about them and want to sell them to your audience. Don’t advocate something you don’t really believe in. It will show. Stick to what you know, for sure, is true. This usually comes from your own unique experiences. Don’t be afraid to share them with your audience. If these experiences changed the way you think or feel about the topic, they may have the same effect on your audience.

Tell your audience what you really think – as honestly and directly as you can. Think about them the way you’d think about your own children: You want them to understand . . . and you don’t really care what they think about you.

In short:

* Start with an issue of direct concern to your audience. (It could also be an opportunity that you are offering them.)

* Provide them with a different point of view (your own).

* Back it up with evidence.

* Offer them a resolution or a plan.

* Suggest a course of action.

In terms of your demeanor, Hoff says you should act like a dog that

* is glad to see you

* has no pretenses

* makes his messages clear

* has simple messages

* knows who he is

Facts To Consider About Your Audience:

* They know how you feel that day.

* They know if you don’t like them.

* They know when you’ve memorized your material.

* They know when you are lying.

* They know when you are giving them a sales pitch.

* They know when you’ve given up on your speech.

One More Very Helpful Hint

According to Business Week, the typical U.S. executive has an on-the-job attention span of six minutes. So, to accommodate today’s channel-surfing attention span, think of your presentation as six-minute TV scenes. Change the scenes frequently, but make sure each one has its own headline (if you are using audiovisual aids) and plant a verbal flag in it – a statement (such as “Let me highlight this idea for you”) that signals the main idea of that particular six-minute scene. Also, vary your audio/visual techniques and move around a lot

Most important to remember: Have fun and your audience will too.