I am sure that, by now you must have heard a couple of speeches.
In your opinion which speech was drafted the best?
Just think about them for a second.
Which speech was the most captivating?
Have you heard a speech that made you want to run in the opposite direction?
Which speech made you laugh your hearts out?
In this day and age, we consume a lot of content.
Whether it is on YouTube or through Webinars or physical presentations.
But every piece of content we consume, does not leave an impression on us.
Only the most entertaining one sticks.
That is the element you want to bring in your speeches.
Now, many may argue that not all topics can be entertaining.
Well, I am going to correct you right there.
No matter what you are going to talk about, if you have sufficient knowledge about the topic and the ability to make your dialogue with the audience memorable, then you are bound to make an impact.
But don’t worry, no one was born an orator.
Each and every one of the great speakers out there that you admire has mastered this art with diligent practice.
With the tips I will be giving you in this post, you will be able to prepare great speeches.
Table of Contents
- Broaden your Knowledge Spectrum
- Write like you Talk
- Give an account of a personal incident
- Add Humor, but don’t overdo it
- Use Quotes
- Always have a thought-provoking conclusion
I would like to give a disclaimer here though; this article only talks about how you can ‘prepare’ a great speech.
I will be writing another article in future on how to deliver a speech.
So, without further ado, let’s get into the tips.
#01 Broaden your Knowledge Spectrum
You most likely already know quite a few things about the topic you are going to speak about.
However, what you know is also known to more than 70% of your audience.
People always remember something that someone said that they did not already know.
Besides if you bring some lesser-known rather astonishing facts to the table, you are going to be captivating your audience.
So, when you get the topic on which you have to prepare a speech,
Start researching about the topic.
Read books, magazines, newspapers, take Google’s help, and try to get your hands on all the resources you can think of.
You need to know about the topic in and out to be confident enough to deliver a speech.
Knowing about a topic well will give your speech that emotional connection and feeling.
A speech has to be delivered with all your heart and not read out.
Divide your time that you have on hand to prepare the speech and give sufficient time for research.
Also, read about related topics so that you can maybe add a few fun facts to your speech or if the audience is allowed to ask questions after you have spoken, you will be able to answer those questions well.
Always keep in mind that, you can amaze your audience only if you speak about something that is not common knowledge.
Another very important tip is that, add some actionable steps that you encourage the audience to take after they leave the room.
Frankly speaking, nobody cares what you think or what you do.
People are too busy thinking about themselves.
And this is true for everybody.
Irrespective of what you are speaking about, tell the audience that they need to do X Y Z so that their lives will get better or they will have peace of mind.
It could be the simplest thing to advise like “breathing in and out 10 times for 20 minutes helps in stress release.”
The important thing is to engage the audience as much as possible.
Remember, if you present lesser-known facts and give the audience actionable steps, your speech is going to have a very long-lasting impression on their minds.
#02 Write like you Talk
Draft your speech in such a manner that it feels like you are having a conversation with your friend.
Use a friendly tone and don’t try to use complicated words.
If you do need to use some lesser-known terms, make sure that you explain the meaning of the same to the audience.
Almost everyone in the audience is just like you.
No one is going to be having a PhD in English literature.
So, you need not concentrate on using very fluent English.
In fact, I would encourage you to use some common slangs
(but in appropriate place only).
Use of common slangs will help the audience relate to your content more easily and they will be able to connect with you on a more personal level.
A pro-tip here would be, once you have written your final draft, read it out to someone and ask their opinion.
If they say that they are able to connect and understand with what you want to convey then you are on the right track.
#03 Give an account of a personal incident
A few months ago, I was attending a training on personal development and we were given an activity.
The activity was to prepare a PowerPoint presentation on any topic that we like and give a 2-3 minute speech on the same.
I decided to speak on “How Psychology is used in Sales and Marketing?”.
The reason I chose this topic was because I am very fascinated about the way people behave in a particular situation, what happens when some factors change, etc.
And I started with a personal incident.
“I was out shopping for a dress to wear on my friend’s birthday and a particular shop caught my eye.
When I went inside and told the shopkeeper what I needed, he started showing me various dresses. I had also mentioned my budget, however, all the dresses that he was showing me were well over my budget.
I saw a few of them and told him to show me something that was in my budget.
Then he started displaying some pieces that were within my budget.
I liked one of the pieces and quickly settled for one.
I was glad, I was done.
As I walked across the street I noticed that a similar dress piece that I had just purchased was on a mannequin in one of the shops.
Curiosity got the better of me and I went inside and inquired about the price. To my surprise, the dress in that shop was selling for half the price that I had just brought it at.”
This is something that happens very often especially if you go street shopping in Mumbai.
By narrating this incident, I have got the attention of the audience. Many of the ladies in the crowd can also relate to what happened to me since they might have faced something similar.
Having got the attention of the audience, I don’t want to lose it.
So, after narrating the incident, I immediately introduced the topic and explained the psychology behind my behavior.
“Consumers are often victims of the ‘Compensation Syndrome’.
When the seller started showing me expensive pieces I could not buy any of them because they were over my budget.
This made me feel a little guilty since he had already shown me a lot and done the work. So, when he showed me something that was in my budget, subconsciously I ‘had’ to settle for one.
In this way, I am compensating him for his hard work and I also got something that was in my budget.
Little did I know that the seller was the only one winning here.”
After you have given the audience this piece of information, they are bound to be captivated.
Firstly because, it is a lesser-known fact, and secondly because they can keep this in mind while shopping next time.
So, think about the topic and think about the various experiences you have had in your daily life.
You are bound to have had some that fit into your topic.
Here are a few tips for this to work especially well:
- Know your audience, so that they can relate to your experience.
- Don’t add too much detail, only describe the part that is relevant to your speech.
- The best time to give a personal experience it at the start, some give it in the middle but never in the end.
#04 Add Humor but don’t overdo it
This works especially well when you have theoretical topics to cover.
A bit of humor sprinkled onto your presentation will help in keeping your listeners engaged.
However, there is a very fine line between being funny and being offensive.
If you think, that there might be even the slightest possibility of offending someone by saying something funny, don’t say it.
When there was a political fix in the state of Maharashtra (India) and the government could not be formed due to lack of clear majority, someone tweeted:
“I am sure we will have a Big Boss 11 winner before we have a Government in Maharashtra”
While this is funny for some, it might be very offensive to others, especially public servants.
This also brings me to another important aspect of Humor in speeches.
Most of the times, people find something funny because they can relate to it.
Like the very famous husband-wife jokes are most relatable to married couples.
In the same way, to use humor in the most effective way possible, understand the demographics of your audience.
You should have an idea of your audience’s average age, gender, work background, academic background, etc.
To give you an example, the above joke about the Maharashtra Government will be very relatable if you are an Indian and even more relatable if you reside in Maharashtra.
However, if you are someone from the U.S, you might not know what I am talking about and therefore not find it funny at all.
This meme for instance;
Will be very relatable if your audience consist mostly of office-goers.
A pro-tip here would be to take a third party opinion.
For example, if you have to give a speech to a bunch of college graduates and you have a nephew or niece who is a college graduate, ask his or her opinion.
If they think your joke is funny, then you can definitely go ahead and use it.
#05 Use Quotes
This is my personal favorite of all the tips I use to make my speech more fascinating.
What Are Quotes?
They are simply a repetition of a sentence or a phrase either written or spoken by a famous personality.
Quotes help give a second voice to the audience that your thoughts or the thoughts of the speaker are in line with the thoughts and opinions of great personalities.
The most common and trending quotes are motivational quotes.
My favorite motivational quote is:
“The Secret of getting Ahead, is getting Started”
Sometimes we do need little reminders to keep hustling. This job is done perfectly by such motivational quotes.
And since I love and adore all my readers, I have compiled a list of 51 motivational quotes that have helped me get through a tough situation and cope with failures.
You just need to enter your email address below and the quotes document will be emailed to you.
But coming back to our speech……
Why should we use quotes?
Well, quotes don’t form part of the main body of the speech. However, it is an important accessory.
It helps enhance your speech and voices your opinion to the crowd in a more effective way.
Just like a brooch is to a dress, a quote is to a speech.
A brooch does not clothe you but it sure magnifies your personality.
Where do you find quotes for your speech?
Google? Maybe. But I would not recommend that.
Like I have stated earlier, you need to do a lot of research on the topic you will be speaking on.
During this research phase, you will read a lot of articles, book passages, etc.
Make a note of the sentences and phrases that really strike out to you.
You can use these in your speech, but don’t forget to quote the author.
People often make the mistake of assuming that only those quotes can be said that have been used a million times.
That is not true!
As I have said earlier, give your audience something new to think about.
#06 You must always have a thought-provoking conclusion
I know what you are thinking, what do I mean by a “thought-provoking” conclusion?
I have given you a lot of tips that you can use for your introduction and body.
However, you cannot ignore the conclusion.
90% of the people are likely to remember only the first and last thing that you spoke.
So, how do you write a good conclusion.
I simply follow 2 steps:
Step 1: Summarize your entire speech in 2-3 sentences
In this way, you will be giving the listeners a short revision of what you said, so that they can retain it for a longer period.
Step 2: Give the Audience 1 actionable step
I have talked about providing actionable steps earlier as well. But that was in relation to the body.
In your main speech, you can give them a lot of tips or steps or how to’s.
But, in the concluding para you must give them one and only ONE step that they have to take that day.
This is because nobody is going to remember the 10 things you talked about. However, if you firmly deliver one step that they should take, they are very likely to remember and abide by it.
To give you an example,
If you are giving a speech on ‘How to tackle depression in its early stages’,
you can end by saying that,
“When you are on your way towards home today, I want you to purchase an attractive diary and write down your thoughts for at least 10 minutes at the end of the day.
This will help you be in touch with your emotions and help you strive to have a better feeling at the end day after day.”
The audience is going to remember this one simple step and take action on it.
You can then follow-up by giving the audience concrete proof that the tip does work. You can give real life examples, personal experiences, etc.
So that is it from me.
But don’t go anywhere.
I will be coming out with another article on the steps to be taken to deliver a powerful speech.
The next step after drafting an amazing speech is delivering it, so put in your email address in the freebie box above to get the latest updates along with an awesome poster of motivational quotes.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and have received value out of it.
Do let me know in the comments section below, what are your thoughts on this topic and which tips you liked the most.
Have a nice day, a nice year and an awesome life.
Let’s meet again, in the next article.
Until then, Happy Reading ?