A speech is an opportunity to influence thought and behaviour. A well thought out and executed speech can build profile for a business leader, garner support from shareholders, put a face to a brand and establish thought leadership. So, don’t take it lightly.
The following seven steps are designed to help craft a speech that hits all the right buttons with the right target audiences while adhering to the organization’s overall key messages and communication strategy.
1. Set your speech objectives
Be clear. What do you want to accomplish with your speech? What actions or behavioural changes do you want the audience to make? Do you want to inform, persuade or demonstrate? To be effective, your objective must be clearly stated. Failing to do so could be devastating.
2. Know your audience
A speech written to motivate the corporate sales staff and a speech written to persuade the corporation’s Board of Directors to increase funding for a project or department are two vastly different speeches with two vastly different audiences. To be effective you must speak the language of your audience. It is crucial to know their “hot buttons,” and what interests them.
3. Know what you want your audience to take away
Prior to writing his speeches, Rick Warren, pastor, author and motivational speaker asks himself, “What do I want the audience to know? What do I want them to feel? And what do I want them do?” A successful speech will engage the intellect and the emotions to effect a change in behaviour.
4. Grab, and hold, the audience’s attention
A good introduction should grab the attention of the audience, establish the speaker’s credibility, state the speech’s purpose and preview the body of the speech. If the introduction doesn’t convince the audience why they need to listen to the speech, they’ll tune out. Often a personal story or interesting story related to the topic at hand will work well to establish a connection with the audience and transition into the first main point of the speech.
5. Establish and support your key messages
So, now that you got their attention and all eyes are fixed on you give them what they want or need. Give the substance that demonstrates that you are worthy of their ears. The body of the speech is your opportunity to show that you have done your research, are knowledgeable about the subject and that you are the expert. Establish three to four main points, each supported by convincing evidence. They should be logically arranged and where applicable, should build on each other.
6. Use visuals to reinforce and enhance your messages
Use high impact images and even video to simplify challenging or complex concepts. Visuals can provide a break or light moment during an intense session whilst driving a point home. Properly used, images and video will bring clarity and enhance the speech.
7. Wrap it up nicely
The conclusion should be prepared as well as any other part of the speech. It is a chance to summarize the body of the speech, reference the introduction and to end the speech with a call to action or a statement that challenges the audience’s thought. Read more…