Planning speeches aren’t the preserve of special occasions and gatherings. It is essential for personal engagements like: man to wife or vice-versa to open a discourse on trying moments in the marriage; boss to a couple of staff members or vice-versa; friend to a depressed and potentially suicidal friend, etc. At least the opening and closing must hit a nerve.
But if it’s meant for a gathering, there can be no room for complacency from top to tip.
- Have a NEW message>> If you’re going to deliver a message that has already been heard; forget it! Whoever you are: politician, preacher, motivational speaker…don’t waste anybody’s time with something that is already known. It’s the bite in the message that makes the difference. It must raise eyebrows and awaken something within the listener. Your message must challenge existing ideas; that is what the world is clamouring for!
- Design your speech>>
Arrange the message in a manner aimed at holding and sustaining attention. Sequence your points and flow in a way that will make the audience want to know ‘what’s next’… any creative, magical narrative to capture the attention and then hold the interest of the audience. Duration matters…brevity is the soul of wit.
- Talk to yourself>> Get a mirror, get a bathroom or lock yourself up; and talk…to yourself. Convince yourself first that you are worth listening to…from beginning to end…before you visit trauma on someone else.
- Deliver your speech to a discerning listener>> No matter how perfect you believe you are at this moment, get someone to evaluate your message, delivery and demeanour in a frank, objective manner.
- Get nervous!>> It’s okay to feel nervous. That means you are careful not to mess it up. If you are not nervous at all, it is an indication that you’re over-confident and sure to ruin the show. Your first sentence will break the ice and then you will be into control.
Author: Earl Ankrah. [Communication Consultant]
Head of Public Affairs Fair Wages & Salaries Commission