Chapter 8

Speaking Well for Yourself


check Creating your elevator speech

check Preparing presentations and speeches

check Scripting yourself with talking points

Most people overlook two central truths when preparing speeches, presentations, and scripts:

  • They need to be written.
  • They need to be spoken.

That may seem ridiculously obvious, but take these rules seriously and you’re way ahead of the game, whatever yours is. Many people assume they’ll rise to the occasion and wing much of what they say when they’re on stage or just introducing themselves. Or, they write a speech as if it were a piece of literature and then are surprised at how hard it is to deliver it well.

Whatever the length or importance of your spoken piece — from an elevator speech that lasts just a few seconds to a formal presentation — the planning and writing process I cover in this chapter gives you the foundation you need. I also show you how to give yourself the edge in situations where you need to think on your feet. The stakes can be high when you defend a viewpoint or confront opposition. You can prepare just like business leaders and politicians do: by creating talking points.

I start with a basic tool of ...

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