Your Packaging Begins with You

We speak to be heard, understood, and to be repeated.

Do you package your speeches for delivery – If you don’t, why not? We wrap our gifts – Right? Well, if your presentation is a gift to your audience, how that gift is presented matters. Your wrappings can make the difference between how your presentation is delivered and received.

When you work on your deliverables, you will notice a significant change in your style of presenting your gift to an audience. The speech is the product. Your wrappings are all the deliverables; sincerity, passion, message, and a host of other essentials. With practice, you will find yourself using them seamlessly as you deliver the presentations and speeches you create. Why –  Simply because – your packaging begins with you.

Packaging is a process. Begin by taking an inventory of your weaknesses and strengths: the skills you have mastered and those you need to improve. Start with the basics. How well do you prepare for each delivery? Do you dress appropriately for each occasion? A gift delivered in fine China would have an entirely different effect on the receiver if that same gift were presented on a garbage cover.

You are a significant part of the package. How you choose to introduce yourself can enhance or destroy the beauty of the moment. Before you utter your first words, you are screened, evaluated, judged. You are an integral part of the packaging, and your audience’s first and last impressions linger.

The instruments we all use to make our delivery are our body and our voice. Many moons ago, I heard David Brooks, the 1990 World Champion of Public Speaking (WCPS), state:  “We speak to be heard, understood, and to be repeated.” It was then I immediately made that bit of wisdom part of my packaging. The deliverables you use will vary, but you must remain sincere throughout your presentation.

If your audience believes for a moment, you are reading, repackaging, or regifting a presentation; you will lose them. And when an audience is lost, it is more than likely; they will stay lost forever. When you make yourself heard, understood, and memorable enough to be repeated, your packaging is working for both you and your audience.

Having your audience do some unpackaging with you works better than you doing it all by yourself. Whether you are delivering a diamond ring in a tiny box or a spanking brand-new Computer, what’s most important to the receiver, is in the package. The element of surprise must not be lost. Make the unveiling and revealing of what’s in the box an experience that will long be remembered.

Show your appreciation for the suspense displayed by the receiver. Eye contact is essential, and so is your body language. Let your audience feel your passion as the giver by including them in the process. Never leave your audience out of the experience as you both savor the moment together.

How you use the platform is also a vital part of the process. Where you start, finish, and every move you make in between are significant. Your every move or action must be delivered with a purpose. Some speakers even create a separate script for their movement when they are on the platform. For example, when delivering from center stage, stage left, or stage right, the speaker scripts and knows the emotion they wish to establish.

On a large platform, every location requires a different pitch, volume, and body placement to be seen, heard, and felt by everyone present. Always remember you are not the gift. What’s in the box matters most to your audience. You are the messenger and not the message. Your job as the messenger is to make sure your message is well delivered.

Your level of energy cannot be understated. Take your pulse before you step on the platform. If you don’t feel one, you are not ready to make your delivery. As Craig Valentine, the 1999 – WCPS, would say, good speakers don’t get ready – they stay ready. When your energy level is low, it becomes contagious. A low energy level can make the difference for your audience being lifted to higher heights or lower lows. However, that energy must be controlled. Make sure the objective is felt and understood by you and everyone in the audience.

Packaging is just as crucial as every word you include in your presentation. As speakers, we seek feedback about what our audience saw, heard, and felt. While many of us focus more on what we hear, paying attention to what is seen and felt is essential. Study the feedback you receive on your packaging and work on how you deliver those intangible deliverables.

Seek feedback about your body’s spoken image. Rate each category; your posture, gestures, body movement, facial expressions, and eye contact. These are all crucial parts of your packaging and should not be taken for granted. They should be included in your evaluations and preparation simply because – your packaging begins with you.

Author: HenryOMiller

Henry joined Toastmaster in March of 1997. He is presently a member of five clubs in Santa Cruz and San Jose. Henry is an executive speech coach, humorist, and speechwriter. He is also a musician and a lyricist​ whose speechwriting approach is similar to his approach to songwriting.