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Ron Sathoff's Speaker Tips
The Power of Previewing

By: Ron Sathoff

Ron Sathoff is a noted speaker and manager of DrNunley's  He provides copy-writing, marketing, Internet promotion, and help for business speakers. Reach him at or 801-328-9006.

One of the major differences between giving a speech and writing a paper is the fact that your audience can't go back and re-read a section of a speech. Therefore, as a speaker, you must make sure that your audience doesn't get lost or confused.

There are many ways that a speaker can do this, but one of the easiest and most powerful ways is to use preview statements. Preview statements simply outline what you are going to be speaking about, point by point. Usually included in the introduction of a speech, they create a sense of organization in the minds of the audience, making it much easier for them to follow along.

If you are a beginning speaker, your preview statements can be blunt and straight to the point. For instance, if you were speaking about a new policy, you could say "I will be making three points: First, I will talk about how the current policy is causing problems. Second, I will discuss what we need to do to fix the problem. Third, I will outline a new policy that needs to be started." It may not be subtle, but at least your audience knows what you will be talking about, and in what order.

As you become more experienced with preview statements, you can start making them a little more sophisticated. Instead of the above preview statement, you might say "The only way we can improve this situation is to understand the problem, the causes of the problem, and what needs to be fixed in order to solve it." This isn't nearly as straightforward as the first, but it still creates an organization for your speech in the minds of the audience.

In any case, the point here is to give your audience a "roadmap" that they can use to understand your speech. When the audience knows where you are going, they are less likely to get lost.

© Copyright 2001, Ron Sathoff

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