Preparing for Purpose Pitch: Public Speaking!
Hello! If you are reading this blog post, that means it is Wednesday, May 2 (or after, I guess, if you're reading this later), which means that Purpose Pitch is TOMORROW!
On Monday, I wrote a post about my process of trying to find the perfect professional outfit for this event. I also went into what this event is, and why it's going to mean big things for The Furever Home Friends!
Today, I'm going to focus on the most important aspect of my presentation -- the presentation itself! I've been working on my slideshow for weeks! Normally, public speaking doesn't make me nervous--I did it competitively for 8 years! So my original plan was to write out my main points on my slides and talk about those points to the audience, conversationally. I wasn't going to write out a script.
Then I realized two things. First, without a script, I could not keep my presentation under five minutes! We have a five-minute time limit to present before we do a Q&A with the judges. When I would practice, I'd keep running out of time before I made some of my most important points. Soon, the reason was clear to me: when I let myself talk off the cuff, I get so excited about each point that I can't stop myself from going on and on about it! I needed to write out a script where I condensed each point into a well written, concise sentence that got all the points across. I couldn't let myself give in to the urge to ramble! Of course, I don't follow my script verbatim, but having the pacing down has helped me keep it structured.
Second, I realized that my slideshow had way too much text! I decided to make some infographics and focus on the images, so that the audience would not get distracted trying to read text on my slides when I talk. Normally, I don't have the problem of adding too much text to my slides. But when speaking to a room this big, it's really important to focus on the visuals and let the audience get the words from listening to you.
I went to a business coaching session that DePaul's Entrepreneurship Center offered. I've got to say, I really appreciate all the resources I've found at DePaul's business school. And I'm an English major! (The only English major who spends half my time hanging out at the business school.) One awesome thing they taught me there was that I could create additional slides to go after my planned presentation. That way, I could have some visuals ready in case the judges asked me a question that would require pictures. I tried to predict what some of those questions might be, and added some additional slides. We'll see if I end up using them!
Anyway, I'm off to practice more. Tomorrow's the big day! Wish me & Chewie luck! (Side note: Chewie won't physically be there. Unfortunately. He'll be at home napping.)