Plan to Create the WOW Factor with your Speech or Presentation

“Wow, what a fabulous presentation!” they said as they stood up after your speech. “Wow,” they said as they mingled after the event.

You, yes, you… WILL produce an impact.

What will it be?

Can you make it a “wow”?

Of course you can.

And the first step is to understand that it is not a mystery. It is something that you create. “Wow” is not an accidental by-product of a presentation. You create it deliberately.

The first thing to do is to define what it is that you want to create. What exactly is that “wow”? In other words, you need to define:

How will your audience respond to your speech or presentation?

What will they take away with them and remember?
What will they remember of you?

Why will they think “Wow what a fabulous presentation!”?

Start by defining the purpose of your presentation or speech. What do you want its impact to be?

You need to articulate whether you want to inform, persuade, inspire, motivate, entertain, shock… You may even want to do several of these things – in different parts of your presentation. But they must not be left to chance or you risk creating “Ho-hum… ” rather than “wow!”

Then define the message; the central message of your presentation – what one thing do you want the audience to take away? This message can be called a thesis statement or a theme. It can be given a number of names, but you need to be able to state it in one sentence. That way you will stay focused on that outcome when you are planning

When you have those two things articulated, the things you want people to remember, the impact you want to make; then you can create the structure and the language of your presentation to support them. The whole speech can be organised to reinforce that impact and that message.

The second of the questions was “What do I want them to remember of me?”

Who are you? How will you be remembered after this presentation? Are you professional, poised, articulate? Are you warm, folksy, creative, nurturing? Maybe you want to be seen as ballistic, confronting, no-nonsense, boot camp material. What message will your clothes and your grooming convey? What will your choice of language say about you?

You cannot be someone you are not, when you present, unless you are prepared to be a performer for the entire production. Insincerity will detract from your speech as quickly as a joke in bad taste. But you can present a side of yourself as the highlight – the side you want your audience to remember.

And the most powerful choice you will make is how you get that image to support your message – how you put the two together.

It may be totally supportive, in that the image is unobtrusive; seamlessly part of the message and the complete package – an incredibly effective combination.

Or you may choose to create an edge, a mystique.

Your body language, your facial expression and gestures, your clothes and your grooming all need to work towards the impact you choose to make. And they will contribute as powerfully to the impact you choose to make as a person as they do to the impact you choose for your presentation to make.

This package, this combination of impact, message and image are what people take away from your presentation. They are the wow you create.

But the pivotal word, there, was “choose” – the impact you choose to make, the impact you choose for your presentation to make.

Whatever you may be trying to achieve, don’t let the impact of your presentation be an accident. Right from the beginning, it needs to be part of the planning. When you are visualizing your production, toying with ideas and possibilities and first drafts, make the impact of you as a person and of your performance an integral part of that process. Visualise it and work it into all aspects of your production planning.

Then you have the foundation for creating the “wow” factor.