Organize Your Speech
Original speech date: February 15, 2017
Project: Speechcraft / Competent Communication #2 (Organize Your Speech)
Over the next 6 weeks, I am helping Launch Pad Toastmasters run Speechcraft. We find people who have never done public speaking before, and show them how they can improve their communication and leadership skills. I am giving an educational talk on how to organize the speech, which I share it with you today.
How many of you like grocery shopping? (survey audience; respond appropriately)
I love grocery shopping! There's something nice and logical about starting at the produce aisle, then walking through the meat aisle, followed by bread-and-pasta, coffee-and-tea, candies-and-chips, until I end up at the cash register (and have to pay for all of them). I find that—perhaps you do, too—the better the store organizes its products, the more I will like the store and buy its products. By the same token, the better you organize your speech, the more I will like you and buy your ideas.
Here's the key: Every good, organized speech has a beginning, a middle, and an end, with smooth transitions in-between. This is universal truth. It doesn't matter if you are giving a speech, making an evaluation, proposing a project, facing an interview, telling a joke, or inspiring someone; there is always a beginning, a middle, and an end. The best part? Every one of you can give a good, organized speech. You just have to practice 3 things: Engage. Express. Impress. Let me explain what I mean by these.
The beginning of your speech must catch your audience's attention. Engage your audience so that they will listen to you. I began this speech by asking if you like grocery shopping. With a quick survey, I got you to participate in my speech and like me as a regular Joe who loves grocery shopping. I made you even laugh, perhaps. I also got your attention with these slick, professional slides. Depending on the nature of your speech, you can also quote literature, share a personal story, or make a challenging statement. Whatever you do, engage your audience. Once you have their attention, go ahead: Tell them your ideas.
The middle of your speech must support your ideas. Express your ideas in such a way that your audience will accept your ideas as their own. Oftentimes, it's best to share just 3 ideas so that your audience will understand and remember each of them. Notice that I'm sharing 3 ideas with you: Engage. Express. Impress. Once you decide on three ideas, support them with examples, facts, statistics, stories, or quotes. You can express your ideas even more effectively with communication skills such as word choice, body language, vocal variety, and visual aids. These skills are things that we practice every day in Toastmasters. Keep in mind, how you support your ideas and how you express them, again, depend on the nature of your speech.
The end of your speech must re-emphasize your ideas. Impress your audience so that they will remember you and your ideas for a long time. Depending on the nature of your speech, you can summarize your ideas, make a call-to-action, deliver the punch line, or share that one final story that tugs at the heartstrings. No matter the nature, finish with force, sincerity, and confidence. Your audience will remember you and your ideas for a long time.
In conclusion, every good, organized speech has a beginning, a middle, and an end, with smooth transitions in-between. Every one of us can give a good, organized speech. We just have to Engage, Express, Impress. We engage our audience in the beginning so that they will listen to us. Then, we express our ideas in the middle so that our audience will accept our ideas as their own. Finally, we impress our audience in the end so that they will remember us and our ideas for a long time.
Let me tell you what's coming up next. I mentioned, a few times, the word nature. In other words, I ask, what is the purpose of your speech? Next week, we will find out that every speech has at least one purpose: to inform, to persuade, to entertain, or to inspire your audience. We will take a look at each purpose and discuss how to organize your speech to achieve its purpose.
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