After the Speech By Stephen D
After the Speech
By Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP
Usually the emphasis on making an effective speech is what you do in
preparation before the presentation begins. But if you speak very much, what you
do after the speech can help you become a more effective speaker.
As soon as possible after the speech, write down impressions of how you felt the
speech went. Answer at least two questions about the speech: What was the best
part of the speech? What part of the speech can be improved the next time?
Some of your best ideas will come to you as you are speaking. Write them down as
soon as the speech is over so you can be prepared to use those lines or ideas
the next time you speak.
Think about the peaks and valleys in the speech. Consider when the audience
seemed to listen best and when the audience seemed restless and disinterested.
Write down your reactions while they are fresh on your mind.
Talk to someone about the speech within the first day after your presentation.
You'll remember best what you talked about and you might discover a better way
of telling a story or making a point as you summarize your speech to a friend or
Keep track of stories you tell and case studies you include so you'll not repeat
yourself if ou speak to that audience again. In addition, keep records of how
long you spoke, what you wore, key people you met, and anything unusual about
the speaking context. Occasionally look back over your records of individual
speeches and look for trends in your speaking that you are unaware of. When you
speak to this group again, this information will be the basis for your audience
analysis. This is especially important if you speak frequently within your
company and your audience will be made up of listeners who have heard you
before. You don't want to develop a reputation for telling the same stories over
If the group has speaker evaluations, ask that a copy of the summary be sent to
you. Look for any pattern in the comments as you analyze the summary. If one
person said you talked too slowly, it may be a personal preference and you don't
need to give much consideration to the critique. If four or five people make
that comment, however, then you might want to consider changing the pace of your
speaking for the next speech.
Certainly your main concern should be with your preparation before the speech.
However, don't underestimate the effort of what you do in analyzing the speech
after the audience has left the room.
Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is a professor of speech communication at Northern
Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Kentucky. He works with organizations
that want to speak and listen more effectively to increase personal and
professional performance. He can be reached at 800-727-6520 or visit http://www.sboyd.com
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