Your 10-step guide to delivering a memorable speech.
It’s 48 hours before you have to give a speech that makes a difference. You’ve sat through a hundred of these before — and you remember maybe two of them. Here’s a sample sequence to keep yours on course so it doesn’t wind up with those lost 98.
BEGIN WITH: The non-intro intro
No one really needs to be thanked for being here today, appreciated for having you or reminded that the weather is nice. Just as a movie is more intriguing if it opens right on the action instead of the credits, get to the point as swiftly as possible.
ADD: A story and a mystery
Jump into a brief, tight narrative right away, one whose setting and events don’t quite seem to match with your subject matter. Get the audience to wonder, “What’s this anecdote really about?”
ADD: The reveal
Conclude your compelling story by relating its true meaning to the theme of your talk. The audience should think, “Ahhhhh, I see now.”
ADD: A fact that opens their eyes
Now throw out a number, a statistic, a quick truth about your topic that will truly surprise them.
ADD: Your own surprised reaction
Become a part of the audience for just a moment by making your own jaw drop at the factoid you just put out there — and describe how you felt when you first became aware of it. This is a good chance to introduce a little humor as you describe the feeling of being suddenly whacked over the head by an eye-opening realization.
ADD: A second story
You’ve got one narrative under your belt; now give them another one. No mystery about how it relates this time — now that you’re all on the same page, stay on it.
ADD: An audience callout
Show you’re engaged with them by working in a member of the audience at the end of your second tale. “I can see, sir, that you think that’s insane,” you might say, or “Just a quick show of hands of how many people have experienced the same thing.”
ADD: Why you’re there
Time to make your central point, the one you want to leave them with. What is this speech really about? It should put a small spin on what they thought it would be — build an unexpectedly nice roof upon your solid foundation.
ADD: A plea
Tell your audience what you want them to do when they leave their seats. Issue a call to action and a personal request. Don’t just give them information; give them a cause.
CONCLUDE WITH: A swift exit
Once you’ve hit all the points you need to, don’t leave any time for an anti-climax. Don’t reproduce your introduction or start in with the thanks. Go out on a high note and walk away.