Okay so let’s say you’re asked to say a few words at your company’s annual meeting or your best friend’s wedding or your Toastmaster meeting.
The only problem is you forgot about it. (Sorry to tell you kids but this happens a lot when you get older. I carry a tape recorder around somedays.)
Here’s what I’ve done in the past:
- Write out the first line or two that tells the audience what you’re going to say;
- Write the topic line for two or three stories that illustrate your point;
- Write out your closing so you’re sure you hit it (If I’m going to screw anything up, it will be the big closing line);
- Walk confidently to the lectern, shake the presenter’s hand and put a BIG smile on your face;
- Read the first line, tell your stories, read your closing line (if necessary) and receive the applause.
- I never apologize for anything or say I’m sorry:
- I never let anything distract me. (Once had the lights fail during a major talk at a conference. The mic still worked so I said: “Well I’ve never had this effect before.” Got a big laugh and lots of sympathy);
- If I forget where I am, I insert a dramatic pause (It’s sure dramatic to me.);
- If I really forget everything I stall by saying” “The next thing I say will be the most important part of my speech”*
- After the speech, I never admit to anything.