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How To Give A Great Speech, Part 2

Last week we covered steps to help prepare you to be a better public speaker. This week we cover the structure of a great speech and next week we will cover the delivery of a great speech. Combining these tips can help you become a better communicator and help advance your career or cause!

* Be Clear and Concise. Visit artofthinkingsmart.com to learn “The 7 C’s of Communication,” which can help you be more effective in maximizing your communication skills. The key thing is to start with the end in mind. What is the end state that you would like to accomplish? Your speech must lead up to that goal. The best speeches I have heard follow this model:

1) Introduction: Tell them what you will tell them
2) Body: Tell them
3) Conclusion: Tell them what you just told them

The speech has to be clear so people remember it. You want your speech to be digestible, actionable and impactful while keeping your audience’s attention span. Using three to five bullet points will help you stay focused, any more than that and people will forget. The famous TED talks strictly enforce the rule of only 18 minutes per speech! One of the most famous speeches ever delivered was Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which was only 272 words and lasted three minutes. People don’t know that Lincoln was the second act. The keynote speaker before Lincoln was Edward Everett, who had just given a two-hour speech! But, 150 years later, only Lincoln’s speech has reverently endured.

* Use Logic and Emotion. Your speech should be developed logically and also appeal emotionally. Great speeches pull out the brain to stimulate it, and also pull out the heart to massage it. Logic helps show why your speech is relevant and how it can be applied. Emotions are the highlighter of the brain and help the audience remember it. Funnel the audience’s thoughts through stories, statistics, jokes, illustrations, and/or take them through a journey. A journey involves a call to action with a problem, overcoming barriers along the way, and a solution or resolution to that problem. Use your voice, body, gestures and facial expressions to help build on the audience’s emotions.

* Use Graphics and Show the Audience. Be careful with the use of PowerPoint or handouts. You don’t want to be a speaker that engages in “death by PowerPoint.” It can, however, be a very useful tool if used properly. Only use them when the slides’ contents will beat a verbal description. Show graphics or illustrations to help bolster your points, not take away from them. Also, the slides should be legible, easy to read and relevant. You want to avoid using them as a crutch, reading too much of your speech off it and hiding behind your slides. People are there to listen to you, not read a speech!

Now that you have properly prepared for your speech and have created the right structure, next week we will cover the best way to deliver it!