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Elements of a Great Speech

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PostPosted: Dec Sun 17, 2006 2:36 pm    Post subject: Elements of a Great Speech Reply with quote

Elements of a Great Speech

The Top Elements of a Great Speech

1. A proper introduction and/or self-introduction.
Have the person introducing you include several of the following items: - Your name - Your credentials - Your experience in this area - Why you were selected to speak vs. someone else - Your personal qualities - Your success and accomplishments.

2. Acknowledge and touch the audience.
Convey authentic gratitude and appreciation by reflecting, before the speech, why you're glad/grateful to be there, specifically. For example: "It is an honor for me to be with you at this meeting because....." Praise the work of the organization. Cite examples of key products or services that work well. Empathize with their "plight" or with the sacrifices they've made to produce what they have. Thank them for what they are currently working on that will improve the industry/life/company, etc.

3. A concise statement of purpose of the speech. Identify why you are there and what they can expect to hear.
For example: "The purpose of this meeting is to give us a chance to report on.....and to give you a chance to ask questions....." "My objective today is to ask you to become leaders instead of just managers and to tell you why this change is so critical...." "In my opening remarks, I am going to suggest substantial changes in our division's mission and profit objectives...." "I want each of you to leave here today with a clearer picture of what your year will look like and a clear sense of what you'll be doing...."

4. Acknowledge and honor the audience's resistance and doubts about your topic/purpose or about you.
If your speech is any good, it will probably feel challenging to some in the audience and cause reactions. You can reduce the negative reactions and include the "higher-end" of your audience if you stand in everyone's shoes and speak to what they may be thinking. "Some of you might be thinking that we are more committed to innovation than to customer service.... Some of you might think that we are not flexible enough in our pricing.... Still others are concerned about delivery times." "You might think that we've already put too much time and money into......" "I expect that many of you will disagree with me; my proposals sound too drastic, go too far and are too disruptive. I will, in fact, tone them down after hearing your concerns and learning from your input...."

5. Create a sense of urgency.
You give a speech in order to motivate others to grow, change, think or act differently. But most of us won't change quickly enough unless we feel something, whether it be reward or consequence (both work; use both if you can). For example: "The reason that increasing our sales by 40% next year is imperative is that the window of opportunity in this market segment will only be open for the next 6 months. If we don't get in, we lose out; you lose out." "Any profession that doesn't keep up with the demands and changing needs of its customers is likely to be replaced by a new profession that is. Your livelihood and continued success depends on continual innovation, not just improvement. Our best customers simply will not wait for us for more than 90 days. They'll find someone else who will deliver."

6. Present the solution.
Now that you've got their attention and have them feeling their wallets, give your audience the plan, the solution, the strategy for how to both solve the problem and also to get ahead and stay ahead. For example: "It used to be that by making more prospecting calls to more potential customers in the same amount of time, we could increase sales by 15% per year. But this approach simply will not get us to our 25% sales goal. Instead, I propose that we...." "We have been listening to our customers very well since 1990, but now I suggest that we marry them, share resources and work together as partners, not just their vendors. This would mean that....:"

7. Make your specific points, the steps needed and the obstacles to reaching the objective.
Keep it to about 3 major points. 8. Share or draw a conclusion. You've given them lots of context, content and opinion. Now, summarize it all into the form of a conclusion so that they'll have a handle to readily hold your speech basket. "What are we to conclude at this point? That...." "There are several conclusions that one might draw right now. They are.....The one that I've chosen is....because....and I will....." 9. Ask for something: action, willingness, a change, support. This motivates and stretches the audience and bonds them to you, long term. 10. Q&A or a fresh statement of the speech. Don't be afraid to be of service/respond to your audience vs. just being a "broadcaster."

Thomas J. Leonard, on the web at 1997, 98, 99, by Coach U, all rights reserved.
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