Guest Blog by Hannah Wright — Marketing Executive at London Speech Workshop, an industry-leading communication training and coaching institute. See how the fundamentals of speech writing can be applied to multiple areas. Learn to capture your audience and become a better writer.
Why is it when some people make a speech, you’re transfixed by it and could listen for hours? Yet, when other people discuss the same topic, you’re thinking about what shopping you need to do or what’s for dinner. Part of it comes down to delivery – how the speaker is connecting with the audience, their body language, general tone, how often they’re pausing and much more. But whilst delivery skills and vocal charisma are crucial to capture the imagination of your audience and maintain their interest, if the content of your speech doesn’t cut the mustard, all your effort will be in vain.
At London Speech Workshop, we have a tool to help you with this called, the Meal Plan. Opening the fridge and tipping everything you see into a serving bowl doesn’t make for a delicious meal; it takes a little more preparation than that for really good speech writing. Here’s our recipe to plan your speech like you would your Sunday lunch.
1. Protein — your purpose
The first thing to think about is the protein. This is your objective; the thing you want your audience to have in their head as they leave. You’ll want to choose three to five main points that best drive this objective forward.
For example, if you’re trying to deliver the perfect wedding speech as father-of-the-bride, you might decide your objective is to leave everybody knowing why your daughter is a special catch, and why the groom is such a lucky guy. In order to do this, you will want to tell some stories highlighting the special qualities she embodies. You can probably be a bit humorous about the groom and his pursuit of her, and close with a warm welcome (or a fatherly warning) to the new family member. By sticking to these key points you’ll deliver a speech that is to the point, does exactly what it needs to, and leaves plenty of time for celebrating and dancing the night away.
When you’re speech writing, always remember you are taking up people’s valuable time, so it’s your job to do the communication work for them, making sure you get what’s in your mind into theirs. And, you want to do that in the most succinct, pleasurable and impactful way possible. The clearer you are in terms of what you want to say and why, the more they can relax, absorb and let their minds roam around the possibilities of your offer.
2. Vegetables — your values
The next thing to include in your meal are the vegetables. They are what makes it good for you, by giving your mind and body the nutrients they need to stay healthy and strong. In your speech, these are your values. What is it about you that makes you connect to the issue? Making your core values clear to your listeners will get them onboard with your message and engaged in what you’re saying. When we are listening to someone speak and can see that they are coming from a deeper place of purpose and meaning, it’s inspiring and compelling. When we see vulnerabilities and passion, it speaks to us on a deeper level than a generic script ever could. Unless the audience knows why they should care, they’ll likely be just nodding along while they doodle on their notebooks awaiting the next speaker.
3. Spice — your details
Whether it’s honey on the parsnips, rosemary on the potatoes or red wine in the gravy, any good cook knows adding that touch of something special leaves guests smacking their lips and going back for second helpings. The same is true for speech writing. It’s adding these touches of spice that bring your presentation to life, capture your audience and allow them to hang onto every word you say. So tell stories and anecdotes or tune into memories that are unique to you, but may resonate with your listeners by speaking to broader themes.
For example, you might mention the moon landing to illustrate a stand-out moment in your past that helped you to realise anything is possible: “I remember when I first saw man on the moon,” works fine. But instead, why not bring it to life with some vibrancy and colour?
“I was 7 when I saw the moon landing. We discarded our toast and jostled for position around the fuzzy, 12” black and white TV as the BBC news began. I noticed my mum crying (which she never did) as she sat waiting for Neil Armstrong to take that first step. Afterwards, we ate a pineapple upside down cake, which was my mother’s classic pudding for special occasions, and to this day it was the best cake I’ve ever had.”
By helping you picture the scene, you’ve taken the audience back to that moment and made them part of the story. This will make them far more open to whatever you have to say next. After all, we’re programmed to listen to and respond to storytelling – that’s what makes it such a powerful tool.
As a general rule of thumb, each piece of protein should be spiced with something to hook your listeners in. So, next time you’re planning a speech, treat it like a good meal. Make sure you have some protein, plenty of veg and a touch of spice to make it stand out from all the other offerings. If you’d like a few more tools to help you deliver powerful speeches consistently, download our free eBook, “7 Tools For Giving Amazing Presentations.” We teach you how to bring the magic to every presentation you give, how to prepare your voice ahead of speaking in public, and how to engage your audience, no matter how dry the subject of your speech.
About London Speech Workshop:
Whether you’d like to feel more confident in meetings, capture your audience’s attention in a presentation, feel more confident in meetings, boost team morale, or get the job of your dreams, the team of experienced communication coaches at London Speech work with you on your unique goals and challenges. The proven Serlin MethodTM uses a combination of modern psychology, performance technique and memorable tools, empowering people to be the best communicators they can be.
London Speech Workshop’s bespoke communication courses will support you to be a more confident and authentic speaker through our trademarked method. If you’d like to find out more about what we do, book a free 15-minute Discovery Call with our Client Success team to discuss your communication goals, challenges and budget.
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