Making Your Speech a Winner

Every speech should have a magic moment!

How do you make your speech a winner? Follow these tips, and your next speech will be remembered as one for the ages. It’s not all about you; it’s about what you deliver to make your speech a winner. 

Your Topic Selection: The topic you choose can decide your final placement in any competition. While you should choose a topic you are passionate about, connecting with your audience should be your goal. If your presentation is about you, your success and failures, remember your redemption is always of more interest to your audience. Make sure your speech has some universal appeal. Your challenge is to make a connection with your audience through personal stories and personal, real-life events. Your presentation should not be an act. Use persuasion and the spoken word to keep your audience engaged. 

Speech Purpose: Define the purpose of your speech early in your presentation. Ask yourself, am I speaking to INFORM-ENTERTAIN-PERSUADE-MOTIVATE. What are the takeaways for your audience – Your sound bytes and catchy phrases. 

Delivery: Don’t Tell Them–Show Them-Take Them. Be descriptive – Use word pictures to convey your message. A picture can paint a thousand words. Be concise but clear – Every unanswered question becomes a distraction. Practice your personal stories and anecdotes so that they don’t sound rehearsed-Keep it real.

Timing: Write a 6-minute Speech and Deliver it in . Find Your Speaking Rate.Calculate your average speaking rate-Men average 125 Women 150. The average number of words in your speech should be between 700 to 750 words. Use single-syllable words. What is your Magic Moment? Every speech should have a magic moment. The moment that makes your speech memorable.

Brainstorm: Once you have decided what your speech will be about, the next step is to begin writing. Like a faucet, let it all flow -the – who – what – where – why – write it all down. An excellent way to begin the speech-writing process is by brainstorming. Write down everything you could find about your topic. Keep writing until you have much more material than you will have time to include in your speech. The next step is to begin testing to see what you should keep or throw away. Keep what adds to your overall goal, keeping in mind the composition of your audience. 

Writing The Speech:Start with an outline that will provide you with a structure for your speech. Most speeches have an introduction, a salutation, discussion, and a conclusion. Your introduction should grab your audience’s attention. Your introduction can be humorous, a provocative statement, shocking facts, or a rhetorical question. Whatever you choose, it should make your audience think, “Wow! – That’s interesting-tell me more. Remember, winning speeches are not written – they are rewritten. Edit until you have a tight copy to practice. 

Identify Your Topic: With a sentence or two, identify where you are going with your topic. Make your opening relevant to your audience. Your audience is always more willing to pay attention if your audience can relate to your subject matter.  Discussion: Here is where you give your audience reasons to buy into your point of view. With facts, figures and confidence provide proof that you know what you are talking about – Be the expert by presenting your material with natural excitement and strategically placed humor. Take risks you have tested and carefully vetted. Organize your points. Tell personal stories.

Conclusion: Telegraph your conclusion. Let your audience know you are closing with a simple phrase – “My fellow Toastmasters” – “Ladies and Gentlemen.” Summarize the main points of your speech. If you had a “foundational statement” during the discussion portion of the address, repeat it. Callback, what you told your audience in the introduction and body of the speech. Leave your audience with a call to action. Close the deal. What’s the lasting impression you wish to leave with your audience. If your audience has a burning desire to take some action or change the world at the end of your presentation, you have hit your mark. Follow these tips, for you and your speech to be a winner. 

Author: HenryOMiller

Henry joined Toastmasters in 1997. He is presently a member of 4 Toastmasters clubs; two in Santa Cruz and two in San Jose. He is a DTM-4. Henry is an executive speech coach, humorist, and speechwriter. He is also a musician and a lyricist​ whose speechwriting approach is similar to his approach to songwriting.

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