If you can convey your message in a single line, then you shouldn’t be giving a speech.
A good speech should always be a build up of information and messages delivered in a very specific way that combine to convince your audience to take action, change their beliefs or walk away inspired.
Of course, many of history’s greatest speeches are remembered for a single powerful line. However, it is more often than not the speech in full that sets the scene for those lines to be remembered. It’s the use of tactics such as specific language, a certain tone and a well-structured argument that helped to make those speeches, and the messages they sought to pass on, so effective.
How can you ensure that all of your speech contributes to your one, overall message?
Here’s my recommended checklist that you should check all of your speeches against to ensure that everything gives the same message to your audience and that there is no unnecessary fluff!
Is every element of your speech relevant to the single objective that you are trying to achieve? Do you clearly define to your audience in your introduction what it is that you are going to speak to them about, and does every stage of your speech after this support your topic and add to your argument? Without structure, neither you or your audience know what you are speaking about or why it is important.
If your objective is to paint something in a positive language, then use positive words. Likewise, if you are speaking about something negatively, use negative terms. It’s so simple, but relevant language will reinforce a certain mood or atmosphere to your audience.
Language can also go beyond positive or negative. Think about your audience – will technical or simplified language appeal to them? What sort of language will get your message across most simply? Once you’ve written your speech be sure to reread it and identify language that can be changed to support your objectives. Your natural writing style might not always immediately suit what you are trying to achieve – there is nothing wrong with this, just be open toe editing it!
Think about the pace at which you will deliver different parts of your speech. As with language, positive and negative messages can be amplified by increasing or decreasing the pace at which you deliver your speech. More meaningful points or items you want your audience to remember can be emphasized by slowing down, taking pauses and reflecting. Once you’ve written your speech, take a marker pen to your script and identify these areas that can be strengthened through a change in pace.
Ok, so it sort of comes under structure, but don’t forget that your conclusion is the final message that you leave your audience with – make sure you leave them with a clear, succinct and memorable message or call to action. If you’ve spent ages writing and rehearsing your speech, the last thing you want is for it to fizzle out and fade away – go out with a bang!
Ok, don’t try to be too much of a hero, but feel free to insert some ‘glory lines’ in there. The sort of lines that you hope will go down in history as greats The lines that will be remembered forever. The lines that will be used by generations to come. Even if it is just another office presentation – go for it!
Don’t overdo it, but glory lines are a great way to break up your speech, give your audience something to be inspired by, or remember and will aid your learning of the speech too, as you’ll have key lines to remember and hit at each stage!
Good luck and remember – if your public speaking message doesn’t need the support of all of the tactics above, it probably doesn’t need a whole speech to promote it!
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