It’s very easy these days to access speeches from history that have been studied to show why they have become legendary.
Do a quick search on the internet and you will find pages and pages of “Top10”, “Top 7” etc etc. What I suggest you do is certainly look at those but look at them with your upcoming presentation in mind. Don’t feel you need to emulate these speeches but instead listen to things like the repetition of key words and phrases, the pauses used or the length of sentences.
For the most part the “famous” speeches are designed to sway large crowds to a new way of thinking, sometimes to urge them into action or support for the speaker’s actions but generally around a very singular issue of the moment. Your presentation may not be in that league so there is no point trying to model your presentation on these speeches but you can learn from the structure and words used in these speeches.
I also encourage you to look more broadly at recent presentations. TED and similar sites will give you a broad cross section of both presenters and topics. Some of these presenters will also give you some ideas of how to successfully incorporate technical details in your presentations. Naturally some do it better than others so when you come across one that doesn’t meet with your approval, actually write down the issues you have with the presentation and make sure you don’t reproduce them in your presentation. As a colleague of mine says “Everyone is a mentor in some way”.
If you are looking for more help with your actual stage presence, again TED can help. Increasingly too, I am seeing more coverage in YouTube of speeches both professional and not so professional.
Once again do the critique. Look at how the presentation is being made, not so much what is being said. Note where the presenter looks the gestures and facial expressions used, the pauses in the presentation and how it starts and ends.
All of these activities will help you to see what you can use comfortably and appropriately in your presentation.
In the next post I am going to cover how to video yourself and critique your presentation before anyone else sees it.