Your Speaker’s Blueprint

Every speech should have a Blueprint

Turning your great ideas into an unforgettable speech that inspires others begins with Your Speaker’s Blueprint. Every speech should have a Blueprint – Your plan that answers the following questions – What’s my purpose? How will that purpose impact my listeners? What will it make my audience think, feel or do?

For that reason, some coaches believe the most important minute of your speech is the minute of silence after you have spoken. If a speaker can inspire their audience to jump out of their seat to make a significant change in their life or the lives of others, they have made their case. They have achieved their purpose.

Once a speaker has answered those questions, they can start developing their blueprint by collecting their supporting material. Although the title is always your audience’s first introduction to your speech, it can wait. You can use a placeholder if you wish. Titles are a relatable premise of the speech. As your speech develops, the title often changes.

Focus more on committing your thoughts to paper. Write them all down. The memos of your flashes of creativity often come in handy later in the editing process. I call those jottings – “The Keepers and the Weepers.” Enjoy documenting them all, although you know some of the best lines won’t make the final cut. But where possible, share those creative ideas as were first experienced.

We all have unique ways of speaking in private and public. However, be mindful that it’s not what you say. It’s what your audience hears. Next, develop your Foundational Statement. It should be a tweetable and easily repeatable sentence. All speakers believe that their ideas are great. However, speakers must remember they are preparing a speech for their listeners’ gratification, not theirs.

Therefore, they should also ask themselves why this idea inspired them and why it should inspire others. Will their audience feel what they felt when this idea first popped into their head? And how they should structure their speech to touch all the emotions to which all humans respond.   

Your introduction should capture and engage the attention and imagination of your audience. It should keep your audience focused on your topic. As you write out your speech, deciding on the body parts you wish to engage is a good idea. Will it be the heart for empathy, the head to make your audience think, hands or feet to get your audience moving?

Whichever you choose is fine. However, your choice should always transition smoothly to the body of the speech. The body is where the speaker develops and expands their point, purpose, and proposition. If you don’t have a purpose, you don’t have a speech. Also, there should be a message in your purpose.

To make your message crystal clear, you can tell a story to make your point. Many coaches teach the secret to public speaking is you make a point, then tell a story –  or tell a story to make a point. You then repeat the process over and over.

From your opening to the conclusion, your point, purpose, proposition, and message should echo through the delivery of your speech. One world champion calls it your scarlet ribbon that runs through the body. Varying how you deliver your B1, B2, & B3 will keep your audience focused on your message as you build to your big takeaway. That takeaway is what some coaches call your Magic Moment. The moment that will turn an excellent speech into one that is immortal.

To avoid ambiguity, your structure should be a single introduction, moving to the body of the presentation. Then, to close, choose your final words carefully—end with a single conclusion, and make sure your last words linger in the minds of your audience. We all have our preferred speech-writing model. Call it whatever you wish. It is Your Speaker’s Blueprint. A popular model we are all familiar with is the “Tell Them Model,” – Where -you tell your audience what you’re going to tell them – You tell them – Then you tell them what you told them. Use that model to check your script for clarity.

From the moment a speaker steps onto the platform, pause and begin reading the audience. However, the closing is where you will seal the deal. Many deals are lost because the speaker didn’t realize their audience is sold. Your audience tells you silently if you made a good connection and you have made your case.

While it is difficult to receive feedback over Zoom, it is possible. Remember, a smile is just a frown turned upside down. If you can see your audience, focus briefly on the frowns; the decenters and move on. If your audience is not visible, use carefully placed pauses and rhetorical questions as check-ins during your delivery.  

Nothing is built without a solid plan or blueprint. Your blueprint does not have to be fancy. If your written plan serves as your guide to help you stay focused on your plot, it is your blueprint. If it increases the effectiveness of the connection with your audience, it is your blueprint. Create a blueprint for your next speech. Experience the joy of turning your next great idea into an unforgettable moment for you and your audience. And remember, all great speeches begin and end with – Your Speaker’s Blueprint.

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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