Why Does One of the World’s Best Public Speakers Need to Prepare?
If you’re tempted to think that only beginning or average public speakers need speech prep, think again!
Preparation is key to public speaking success — and the more skilled a public speaker is, the more likely it is that he or she makes speech prep a regular, pivotal part of their process.
Take Bill Clinton.
If anyone on earth has a natural, conversational speaking style, it’s the former President. (Though, since he’s been working on that style for at least 50 years, we don’t know how “natural” it actually is.)
Preparation Is the Basis for Improvisation
One of Clinton’s most notable speeches was his address to the 2012 Democratic National Convention — and famously, about half of what Clinton said was not written into the teleprompter script he was supposedly reading as he spoke.
In other words, he improvised.
But does that mean that Clinton just opened his mouth and let loose with whatever was on his mind at that moment?
It actually means the opposite.
As a former jazz musician (and a public speaker myself), I can testify that the only way to go “off script” and be convincing is to know your script cold.
If you don’t know your raw materials, you can’t use them to create something new — or at least, not something new that works!
Bill Clinton Describes His Speech Prep for the 2012 DNC
But you don’t have to take my word for this:
Here’s what Bill Clinton told Jon Stewart about how he prepared for that DNC speech.
(When Stewart gets to the point of teasing Clinton for using actual facts in his presentation, you’re pretty much through the speech prep part of their conversation, though the rest of this is interesting, too.)
Hint: Clinton didn’t just work on his speech, he got help from several trusted sources.
If you decide to do the same, I hope you’ll contact me!