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Secret Sauce of a Successful Speech – Lesson 1: Know Your Goal

Define the goal of the speech.  What effect or purpose do you hope to achieve through this presentation?  Selling a product, furthering a cause, attracting investment?  Keep that point in mind.


Addressing your audience without knowing your purpose is equivalent to driving a car without knowing which direction to go.  Consider yourself the driver and your audience members the passengers.  Your audience should always be uppermost in your mind as you prepare a speech.  Ask yourself three questions:

  1. Who is your audience?  What are their interests, what do they want to learn from you?  Where do they want to go?
  2. What change or action do you want to affect in them?  Are you seeking customers?  Funding?  Followers?  Where do you want to take them?
  3. How is this audience best approached? Do you plan to sell them? Inspire them?  Entertain them?  What is the best route to take to reach your destination?

It is crucial to be clear on these questions before you write the first word of a presentation.  In considering your audience and your approach to them, what you will say and how to say it becomes more apparent.  Leave out that which does not support your goals in giving the talk.  That makes it more focused and also shortens the speech, something audiences appreciate.

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