Are you prepared for your 'end of year' speech?

Just about any place where work is completed, this is either the time to wind down or wind up for the ‘holiday /silly’ season. And it’s this contagious time when people want to gather to celebrate and congratulate.

Amongst all this excitement, people feel obliged to make speeches. They are farewelling, summarising, congratulating, rewarding and some even teasing about what the New Year may bring.

Now, some people can ‘wing it’ and make their speech with no preparation – the result can be quite extraordinary. “Good on you” I say! However, for most, this isn’t the case. So, here are some tips to be prepared for the ‘end of year’ speech:

1.       Pick the right time to make the speech. If at an event, ensure the audience has had one drink, not too many –you want them to listen to you, not heckle you.

2.       Know your intent – are you there to review the year, thank the team or prepare the group for 2013? If it’s all of the above, proportion your time accordingly.

3.       People will remember what you say first and last – so if you want people to recall what you said, give that some thought.

4.       If you are softly spoken, either practise or get a microphone – don’t apologize or yell, be heard.

5.       Prepare your notes, have peoples’ names written phonetically to ensure you pronounce their name correctly and ensure you have everyone's name. A forgotten name can be your demise as a leader!

I have heard some great speeches; they are few and far between. However, it’s a skill that can be learnt – get cracking if it’s not your forte!