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A Short Talk on Preparing a Talk

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 05:10 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 64.2 
  • Words: 1535
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1. Introduction

This paper offers suggestions for more effective ways to plan the talk, and a checklist of points you should consider from the moment you know you will give a talk. Careful preparation and effective delivery are the keys to giving quality speeches or presentations. Without sufficient preparation, you may find yourself unable to respond to questions raised by the audience, which will lessen the impact of what you have to say.

No matter how much time you have to prepare a talk, it never seems to be enough. Yet, before you can begin to work on the talk itself, or even start to prepare any visual aids, there are four points you need to consider: duration of the talk, audience, subject and objective. In this paper these four points are discussed.

Let us deal with them one by one in the order they appear above.

2. Duration of the talk

The shorter the talk has to be; the more difficult it will be to do it well. Giving a brief talk requires proportionally more preparation time than longer talk. You have less time to search for the right words, less time to receive feedback from your audience, less time to work through theory and to give illustrations. If you want to be effective, do not underestimate the time it will take you to prepare yourself for a short five to twenty minutes) talk. The time allowed for the talk also determines the scope and the level of detail you can go into. A brief talk will necessarily be less complicated and will deal with fewer points.

The duration of the talk can roughly be estimated as follows: studies in reading have found that an average person speaks at more or less 150 words per minute. A ten-minute talks therefore cannot be much longer than 1500 spoken words. If you are going to read your speech (something which you should avoid doing) you can prepare about three and a half A4 pages (12 font and single spaced), which will give you about 1250 words....


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