January, 2010

Foundational Phrase is the Fundamental Foundational base on which you set up and build your speech

Quote of the month:
"Your very clear message is the foundation upon which everything else is built... Without the foundational message, it is like you are building a castle on quicksand. It will not survive and your message will sink into obscurity. You will probably sink with it"
The Nuts and bolts of Public Speaking
Taken from C. Valentine's book, THE NUTS and BOLTS of Public Speaking: Practical Tools for Powerful Presentations

Opening: Have you ever considered why many speakers confuse and lose their audiences? Many may answer: because they do not speak with conviction, because they have poor body language, because they do not connect by involving the audience, and so on. Although many of these points are valid, they are definitely NOT the main reason.

The main reason these speakers lose their audiences is because they themselves are lost; they have not done the necessary preliminary mental work and formulated a solid crystal clear foundational phrase supported by other points.

Promise: When you have formulated a very clear concise message for your speech which serves as the foundation for all your points, you will be looked upon as a high caliber speaker. Your audiences will be inspired to follow you since your message will be memorable.

Roadmap: This month we will examine the foundational phrase by looking at the important questions you need to ask yourself at the start of a speech's creation and look at an analogy for clarification.

So you have a speech or presentation to prepare- You've already determined the makeup and needs of your target audience; it is important for you to create compelling content; where do you go from there?

Start by creating a crystal clear FOUNDATIONAL PHRASE which is, in fact, your take away message for your audience.

Questions you need to ask yourself to ensure that your foundational phrase, which is actually the take away message for your audience, is crystal clear and concise:
1. What do I want my audience to think, feel, say or do differently after I finish speaking?
2. What is my audience's take away message (foundational phrase)
3. Is it clear, feasible and doable for my audience?
4. Can I say it in fewer than 10 words?
5. Can I be creative and state it in possibly a rhythmic or memorable way, or quoting speaker Doug Stevenson, in a "phrase that pays." i.e. Walk your Talk; Be Driven by your Vision; Attitude determines Altitude; Dream, Decide and Do; Nothing Changes until Someone Changes.
6. Once I've decided on a clear message, which stories, humour, other supporting points can I use to help me get my message across and be remembered?

An analogy that can possibly clarify this extremely important point of creating a foundational phrase and its supporting points is as follows.
Imagine the foundational phrase as a coat rack. It stands solid and grounded.
Now imagine your selling supporting points to get your message across as the coats you would hang on the hooks of the coat rack. Ensure that all your supporting points- benefits, stories, activities, acronyms, analogies, humour, techniques you give an audience, questions you ask the audience, to name a few, all support your main message or foundational phrase.
Whatever doesn't support your main message, let it fall to the ground. "When in doubt, leave it out!"

My challenge to you: next time you have a speech or presentation to prepare, ensure that you have a crystal clear foundational phrase...fewer than 10 words. Strongly, focus on it because when you do, your mind will then attract points to support it. Compile all ideas by recording them, and discard the ones that are not needed. Don't worry that you'll be inundated with a multitude of thoughts/ideas/stories. I've learned to create a message, you first need to create a mess!! So if you have a mess, you're on the right track to formulating a message!

Because the foundational phrase is 1 of 5 parts of the P.A.R.T.S. Formula which provides you with a format to develop compelling content, you may wish to discover the rest of the formula by investing in the book below. (By the way, my July 2009 newsletter covers the A of the PARTS formula.)

World Class Speaking This outstanding book is for sale on Amazon.com It is also the book you receive when you sign up for the amazing course I have just successfully completed which certified me as a world class speaking coach.

Course details: http://www.wcspeaking.com

Join us next month, when we examine the letter "G" as it relates to another speaking skill. In the meantime, happy speaking!

Certified World Class Speaking Coach

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