Through my experience I’ve noticed 5 simple things that can change any speech from standard drivel to a standing ovation and best of all they are all incredibly simple things to achieve.
1. Keep it Personal
If the story isn’t yours, don’t tell it.
As a Best Man tell stories about your time with the groom, not about his life before you met. As a CEO talk about your plans for the business and how you plan to support the shareholders. As a political debater talk about your experience and how that supports your case.
Keeping the speech personal makes it more personal for your listeners too. If you try to tell a story or joke that means nothing to you then it won’t mean anything to your listeners either.
2. Keep it Original
There are hundreds of websites out there full of jokes, stories, or templates for your speech. Some of these are hilarious, some meaningful, some clever, but none of them are yours.
Using unoriginal material results in a speech that doesn’t belong to you, taking away the personal touch. Take away the personal touch and you’ll take away your audience’s interest.
3. Keep it Simple
We’ve all heard the speaker who thinks he or she is terribly clever. They use big words, long sentences, and terribly intelligent jokes and normally manage to entertain only one person in the entire room; themselves.
The best speech is made up of simple words, short sentences and simple ideas, presented one at a time.
If you lose your place or get confused by rambling sentence when reading your speech you can be certain your audience will too.
4. Keep it Entertaining
Every speech, even a eulogy or a sermon, should contain some humour. But that doesn’t mean you have to tell jokes. I’d even go so far as to tell you NOT to try to put jokes in your speech.
Real humour doesn’t come from a set-up and a punchline, but from telling stories. Peppering your speech with a few funny memories, quirky stories or simple observations can get even the worst comedian a hearty laugh.
5. Keep it Short
Even if you ignore every other tip in this article do not ignore this one.
No speech should ever be more than 10 minutes, except possibly on budget day in Parliament and only then because the opposition keep interrupting. If your speech is longer than 10 minutes take out a red pen and remove every unnecessary word, sentence and paragraph. Take out every idea that is not your own, every sentence that runs for more than 3 punctuation marks and every story that doesn’t mean something to you.
It is much better to have a speech of 3 minutes that stays in the heart than a 15 minute speech that is instantly forgotten.
So to wrap up
Great speech writing is all about your POSES, (thats Personal, Original, Simple, Entertaining, Short)
Check your speech meets these requirements before you present it and the crowd will hang on your every word.
Don’t, and they might just leave you hanging.