LET’S MAKE A START….
My aim is to help people who have to make a speech or presentation and don’t know where to start.
I have a process that has never let me down and I really hope that it will help you. If not, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see if I can help.
There are three main stages:
Body – I want to share three main points
Ending – Why I passionately believe in the main points have made.
If the speech is about a person, I generally end with something along the lines of: ” I think Sam is a wonderful person – energetic, fun and very good to know and I hope that you agree….. Sam is unique – and a really special friend. Thank you …..”
Every good speech benefits from solid research. Asking the right questions will get some good material.
Example – I have been asked to speak about Sam on the occasion of his/her 40thbirthday. Inspiration has not yet struck, so I will get into brainstorming mode by asking some questions:
Exactly when and where was Sam born – details of early family life. Friends- school -favourite/least favourite subjects –teachers – sports -recreations – holidays – achievements
Teens and 20s
Passions – friends – academic – achievement – work -any quirky things
Family – partner – challenges – work – achievements – contribution – voluntary work – support offered to friends and family
The above list is not exhaustive. I would advise people to do as much research as they can. Of course most of the background information will be discarded, but more material increase your chances of finding a ‘hidden gem’
The best source for all the above is the subject’s friends and family members.
Once the brainstorming/research phase is over, your task is to find three main points which bolster your central argument.
You will have collected too much information.
The best speeches have ‘ bite sized’ chunks which are relevant. Some of the points will tell the audience things that they did not know.
My technique for the editing process is to go for a walk. It will be between 40 and 50 minutes.
During the first 20 minutes or so not much happens, but after that the thoughts start flowing. By the time I have finished I have the main points of the speech. This has never failed me.
( I do not think this is a random process. The first half of the walk encourages an aerobic effect and allows the subconscious to get to work. )
Sometimes the ending comes to mind first – at other times the three main pillars of the speech come. Once these things are established the introduction should come easily.
Every speech benefits from revision – speaking out loud helps you get an idea for phrases that are smooth or clunky, sharp or flat. Having a friend listen to your draft will add value and some bits can be cut or emphasised as a result.
Your speech should be memorable – so work out ways in which it could stand out. If the subject liked playing with a Frisbee as a child, why not threaten to throw one to a friend at the back of the audience?
Interaction with the audience often works well. I usually ask a friend in the audience to do a bit of gentle heckling. I also ask someone to lead off the applause at the end. Some might regard that as cheating – to me it’s just common sense.