Most of my YouTube or television watching centres around cooking; not shows like Food Network challenges, Top Chef or Guy’s Grocery Games. Rather, I enjoy the shows where the hosts demonstrate the preparation of specific dishes. I want to watch Tyler Florence prepare Chicken Paillard or Micheal Smith make no-knead bread and then try the recipe myself.
That’s the essence of a demonstration speech. You demonstrate an
activity and then get your audience committed to trying the activity.
A demonstration speech is the “how to” of public speaking. It
can be more difficult to present than any other type of speech. If something
goes wrong, it can slow down the entire speech or bring it to a halt. While the
fundamentals of preparing and giving any good speech are important, there are
additional considerations for the demonstration speech.
When preparing and presenting a demonstration speech, you need
to think like a Food Network Star.
Know Your Topic
They don’t pick just any old person off the street to host a
cooking show; unless it’s the street where Giada lives. The chefs and cooks demonstrating
the techniques have established themselves in the food-service industry. In
some cases, they are among the finest chefs in the world. They know their
The most important element of giving a demonstration speech is
choosing a topic you know well. The success of your demonstration speech will
hinge on your ability to perform the activity you are demonstrating.
Prepare Your Material
that if Mario
Batali is preparing Zabaglione, he’s going to reach into the
fridge and pull out as many eggs as he needs. You also know he is not going to
stop mid-demonstration and say, “I’m out of olive oil.” Not only do they have
all the ingredients they need, but the ingredients are “mise en place” everything
prepped and in place.
Once you have outlined your demonstration speech, prepare the materials. It’s important to gather all the materials and visual aids you will need and practice with them in advance.
to Your Needs
television chef prepares a dish that requires several hours to complete, the
show doesn’t get any longer. You’re shown how to make the marinade, then the
steaks go into the marinade and into the fridge overnight. Conveniently, the
fridge contains a pan with already-marinated steaks, ready for the next step.
If you are demonstrating a process with steps requiring “waiting
time”, be sure to bring examples of the project at each stage in the process.
Can’t Show, Tell
Alton Brown is the master of this step, on the show Good Eats. He may not be able to show you gluten developing in bread dough, but he’s got three puppets, one chalkboard and a barbershop quartet to help explain the process.
If it’s impossible to demonstrate every step of your topic,
brainstorm for other ways to clearly explain the process.
Always Tell, Show
A good television chef lets the actions speak for themselves.
The chef will say, “add a chopped onion,” and we watch as the onion is chopped
and added to the pan. The chef knows when to pause and let the audience focus
on the action.
use of the pause. This gives opportunity to demonstrate the step and you can
take a breath. The audience can concentrate on what you’re doing and what they need
to do without having to concentrate on your words at the same time.
a Finished Product
the last thing you see Bobby Flay do on Boy Meets Grill?
He slices off a bit of perfectly grilled steak and eats it. We’re left with a
picture of a dish that’s so delicious and simple to make, we want to run out
and fire up the barbeque, even though it’s January and snowing.
Leave your audience with a finished product. If you’re
demonstrating a skill you expect them to use, let them see what it looks like
at the end. They are more likely to try something that they have seen
of a demonstration speech is the same as for a regular speech. It’s important
to spend time organizing your thoughts and what you want to say. However, when
preparing a demonstration speech, it’s important to remember that the
demonstration and visual parts of the presentation are the most important and
the speaking portion, while needing to be strong, should support the task which
you’re demonstrating to the audience.