1. Start with a Plan

There’s a bit of work to do to get you started. First and foremost, you’ll need to know:

– Who is your audience?

Think about who your audience will be so you can customize your talk to be of interest to those listeners. It makes a difference if your talk is being given at a retirement community or at a conference for podiatrists.

– What will the topic be?

Sounds simple… and your answer is reflexology of course, but there are many aspects to this great modality and you’ll need to narrow it down to match your audience. Other considerations are the amount of time you have and what you want to accomplish in that time. It’s always good to talk from your own experience, so pick a topic that is not only relevant but one where you can offer some good examples and anecdotal information.

2. Time for Preparation

It’s not always possible to just show up and talk. Sometimes you have to co-ordinate some or all of the logistics too.

– Where is the talk to be held? Who is responsible for organizing it? Will they provide the audience or will you?

– Know how to get to your venue then arrive early. Know what’s expected of you and stay within your time frame.

When it comes to preparing the talk, one of the most often used formula is writing an outline and putting it onto cards and then using these to speak from. Another popular method is to write out the whole talk and then practicing the speech until you can do it without erring.

Try to avoid reading from a script, word for word (and with little eye contact with the audience). Equally disastrous is winging it and having no prompts at all. (Unless you are very well practiced.)

Mark Twain has been quoted as saying: “It usually takes me at least three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”

3. And Now for the Presentation

The most important thing to remember is to be yourself, (unless you’re a disorganized, disheveled mess – and then try to be someone else for the moment). Dress the part, maintain good eye contact with the audience, exude confidence and, laugh at your own mistakes.

You will have people with different learning patterns including visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Try to include all 3 into your talk.

The number one element is the visual – add some slides or images along with the talk. This is a great way to illustrate what you’re saying and most people will make the connections you are aiming at a lot faster with pictures.

Another important element is the auditory, both in what you say and how you say it. Practice your talk using “punctuation” by varying the speed, tone and volume of your voice.

But, don’t forget that what people are there for is the information you are about to provide. Again pick your topic and make yourself both knowledgeable and entertaining if you want to position yourself as an expert. Audiences will forgive the odd mistakes, but the impression will not be good if you come across as boring – nobody want to have their time wasted.

4. Crafting your Talk

This is really a basic concept, but sometimes reflexologists forget to start with the end in mind. What do you want the audience to walk away with? Be it a history lesson, a few easy to do techniques, or excitement about an offer you’d like to make – keep that in mind from the beginning.

Talks have a standard beginning, middle and end. Plan, prepare and then practice.

And, don’t forget to focus on the popular “radio station WIIFM”. Those letters stand for “what’s in it for me”. Remember it’s not all about you… it’s all about them, your audience.

5. Be Physical

On the physical aspect there are two main points I’d like to make. One is to prep like you’re training for the Olympics. If that sounds too dramatic, then just start the week before and take care of yourself. You’ve got it… get plenty of sleep… eat right… do some stress relieving exercises… (and/or meditate) so you have good physical and mental energy. It really does count.

The other hand when you’re giving your talk, remember to move a little, or even a lot. Use your hands (but don’t flail them about wildly). Walk towards your audience, or from stage left to stage right (and vice versa). If you’re presenting slides or powerpoint, remember to face the audience and not just the screen.

6. Practice, Practice, Practice!

Give your talk to friends and family. Give your talk in front of the mirror or to your cat. The more times you give it the easier and more relaxed you are likely to be. Joining a group like “Toastmasters International” or any public speaking organization will help. You might consider investing in a speaking coach to help you lose the ums… and ahhs…

7. Close with a Mission

After telling the personal stories, the humorous quips and fascinating facts, you might as well tell the audience what to do next. Too many speakers fail to do this one last and important step. Let your listeners know the next step, i.e., read this book… sign up for this workshop… see me after for questions or to schedule an appointment.

If you don’t give them this part, well you’ve served the apple pie without the cheese or the kiss without the squeeze.