The 2017 Toastmasters International champion says every public speaker needs to be able to answer three questions before getting in front of an audience.
Whether you're about to give a TED Talk to 1,200 people or take 15 of your colleagues through a PowerPoint slideshow, there are three questions you need to ask yourself, according to Manoj Vasudevan, the 2017 Toastmasters International world champion of public speaking.
Vasudevan, an Indian entrepreneur and management consultant living in Singapore, survived a six-month-long competition with more than 30,000 competitors. He and nine other finalists competed for the championship title in Toastmasters' annual convention, which hosts the world's largest competition of its kind.
He spoke to Business Insider after receiving his trophy on August 26, and told us the way he prepared for his winning speech was the way he recommends everyone prepare for any kind of presentation. Here are his three questions to ask yourself before you write a word of your speech or create your first slide.
It's such an obvious question it's actually easy to overlook. Why should any of your audience members even be listening to you?
Vasudevan said that novice speakers often think that a presentation is about themselves. That's why shy speakers can be terrified to the point of paralysis in front of an audience, or overconfident speakers can make fools of themselves in the same situation.
Set aside your ego, Vasudevan said. Determine what value you are adding to your audience and let that guide your words.
This one's straightforward. Why should your audience believe anything you have to say?
Vasudevan said that he's seen novice speakers either play loose with facts or assume too much of their audience when giving presentations. Fact check your work before getting in front of your audience, and don't take any shortcuts.
The moment you get your audience questioning one of your claims, "nobody is going to believe whatever you say next," Vasudevan said.
OK, Vasudevan had fun with this one, but it's just a series of interconnected questions that will help guide your writing. We'll take the acronym letter by letter.
What do you want your audience to feel? You must genuinely feel any emotion you want to transmit to your audience, and this can only be done through authenticity.
What do you want to unveil? You need to teach your audience something new.
What do you want your audience to notice? You want your audience to feel like they are having a conversation with you. Remind them of things they have noticed in the past so that you can lead them to your lesson.
What do you want your audience to do? You should leave your audience with a call to action, to give meaning to the lesson.
What do you want you audience to achieve? You need to explain what you want the call to action to accomplish.
When developing a presentation, Vasudevan said, every line should further your message.