[List of 30] Steps to Prepare a Speech

Random Observation/Comment #520: When you’re up there, imagine everyone’s on your side and waiting to be inspired and learn something new.


A long speech may be daunting to you, but at one point in your life, you’ll need to stand up there and present your ideas. Whether it’s a technical presentation of your work pr the vows to your significant other, you will be speaking some words for others to hear. It behooves you to prepare. For the interns this year, this was my advice to them:

  1. Focus on the core of what people want to know (tailored to your audience) – What is the value of your presentation?
  2. Check your slides have useful diagrams and figures
  3. Structure your prototype presentation – focus on Pain Points, Design addressing those pain points, and Working Prototype
  4. Explain it with an analogy
  5. Make sure your conclusion has Next Steps and Lessons Learned
  6. Review this with your team and TA leads
  7. Write out your script in one sitting as if you were making the speech
  8. Do a reverse outline of your speech into core points
  9. Check again that the summary and take-aways cover what you want to say
  10. Go back again and write a new script based on the reverse outline (this will help you say it in different ways)
  11. Know your material inside and out
  12. Don’t worry about the exact words, but instead focus on the message (like how professors talk about the subject)
  13. Time your presentation (25-30 min max)
  14. Reduce using generic/obscure words like “stuff” and “things”
  15. Make sure you tell a story with your project
  16. Give honest feedback to each other and check each other’s postures
  17. Practice to reduce filler words (verbal pollution). Pause and think instead.
  18. Practice where you will emphasize your words to add gravitas – tell it like a story to a 5-year-old
  19. When standing up there, reduce your body language distractions (stop shifting weight from one side to the next and stop touching your hair)
  20. Take a video of yourself speaking
  21. Watch that video (and try not to throw up in your mouth)
  22. Practice once more with eye contact and only looking at the script a few times
  23. You are allowed to have a script with you, but you should not rely on it too much
  24. Consider printing out something to give to your stakeholders – requirements outlined or designs
  25. Practice your transitions
    1. “Next, we will have <name> describe the design of the project” …
    2. “Thank you <name>. … We designed …”
  26. Prepare for the typical Q&A about your project
    1. How were the tasks divided?
    2. What about this new feature?
    3. How did you choose the technology or implementation?
  27. Practice all together in the finalized location.
  28. Wear business professional clothing on the day of the presentation
  29. Follow-up with your audience, hiring managers, and stakeholders with more information after the presentation
  30. Smile and have fun!

~See Lemons Help Interns Present