LECTURE 1. Strategic communication - getting your message right
The biggest mistake people often do is that they don’t exactly know why they are making a particular pitch or presentation. You should never make a presentation before you know exactly what is your objective with the speech. Four crucial questions that every speaker should ask before any speech:

1. Why am I speaking? - It is about strategy and one should bear in mind the audience, credibility and objective of the speech. Without the doubt, this is the most important question you have to ask as a speaker. Without knowing what you want there is little reason to make a speech. And please be as precise as possible. You should even try to formulate the question in writing beforehand. Remember - if you as a speaker don’t know exactly what you want to achieve with your speech, how could the audience take home the precise message?

Four overall goals of speeches:

- To inform - transferring facts, data or information to someone

- To instruct - instructing someone in a process or procedure

- To persuade - convincing someone to believe or act in certain way

2. Whom am I speaking to? - It is about the most important people in the room - the audience. Is this the right audience for your objective? How much they know beforehand? How much details you need to give? Don’t ever assume your audience know everything, be as clear and keep things rather simple. Remember, if the audience – potential customers, supporters, investors – doesn’t understand your message, it is not their fault, it is yours.

3. What am I speaking about? - It is about preparation and consists of content, structure and design. Often it is thought that we don’t have enough things to say to fill the time. This is usually a mistake as we have far more things to say than we have time. Therefore, it is one of the most crucial decisions - what to leave out of the pitch. Less is more! When you know exactly your aim you want to achieve with your speech, it is easier to decide what to say and what not to bring in, also what to say in what order.

4. How am I speaking? - It is about delivery and combines engaging audience, body language and paralanguage (vocal component of the speech). When you know the aim of your speech and you have your strategy in place, you need to suit your style of speaking and visual aids used to the specific aim and audience. You must learn about your audience in order to make a good impression.

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