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How to Sound Conversational in a Speech

Learn how to sound conversational in your speech from media coach TJ Walker in this Howcast public speaking video.


So how do you make sure you're just as good at your prepared speech, as you are in your Q and A, the question and answer session?

Common problem people have. They come to me, and they say, "TJ, I'm great at the Q and A session. People are laughing, they're connecting. I come alive. But my prepared speech, it just falls flat. It seems to bore people." That's a common scenario that, if applies to you, you're not alone. What's the solution, though? Let's step back.

Why are you good at Q and A? Typically you're good at Q and A because you listen to one idea at a time. You're answering with just one idea, one message, and then you often give an example. Sometimes tell a story. And you're not trying to do some big data dump pointing to 29 different bullet points. That's what makes the Q and A good.

And you typically go from the abstract from the concrete. You say, "Oh, that happened to one of my clients the other day. Oh, that's just like what happened in our Miami office." You're instantly taking someone's question and relating it to something specific, concrete. You're going from the abstract, the theoretical to the concrete example. That's what makes your Q and A interesting. That's what makes it memorable. That's what draws in your audience.

Well, guess what, that's what you should be doing in your speech, too. The problem most people have with their presentations is it's too abstract. It's too dry. You don't have enough examples. You don't have enough stories.

So if you want a fast, fast, easy solution, take your speech, tear it up, and throw it away. Instead, come up with the ten most likely questions you would face if you had to talk to anyone in your audience for a half an hour. And just come up with that as your speech. Forget a big long speech. Forget the big PowerPoint. Come up with ten questions. Have those on a sheet of paper, and that is your speech. That's your outline, and that's what you want to say throughout the speech.

Do that, and now your speech will be just as good as your Q and A session.

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