Setting up Solid Structure in your Speeches
Opening: Do you realize that you may have an awesome opening, fabulous gestures, great eye contact, wonderful use of humour, and so on, but if you do this one thing your speech will come tumbling down. This one thing has to do with structure.
Promise: Just as this building is grounded by being built on a solid structure, so must your speech. With a precisely planned solid structure, you can capture the audience's immediate attention and keep them captivated until you close. You do this by not only creating compelling content and using dynamic delivery devices but by setting up a solid structure for your speech.
Roadmap: We will look at the biggest mistake made by speakers as it relates to structure and then, how to avoid it by creating one that is solid.
First, why do we speak? We speak to create change in others by discussing our own life lessons. Sadly though, we live in a land of plenty: two for one, bottomless cup, all you can eat, buy one get the other at half price, and so on and this notion of abundance tends to influence the amount of information we place into our speeches.
The biggest mistake made by speakers: Have you ever heard the expression: When you try to do too much, you end up doing nothing at all? All too often we put far too much information into our speeches and when we squeeze too much information in, what's the result? We squeeze our audience out! Their minds are overloaded and confused, and take note: a confused mind always says: NO... no to your suggestion, lesson, message, or change of direction in their lives. Have you ever listened to a speaker who had so much information, you became confused and consequently, you tuned out? Have you ever been the speaker giving one of those speeches?
How then do we plan our Solid Structure to hold our audience's attention and create lasting change in others? First, you must ask yourself a very important question before you write your speech: "What would I like my audience to think, feel, say or do differently after I speak?"
In other words, know YOUR/FOUNDATIONAL PHRASE or take away message!!
Then ensure that your foundational phrase or take away message is:
There are 3 parts in the STRUCTURE of a Speech or Presentation: Opening, Body, Conclusion.
When planning, start with the END in mind....what is my Foundational Phrase or takeaway message for my audience? So start with the Conclusion. In the conclusion, debrief main points, callback events/ characters, and make a call to action with a doable, palatable take away message.
In the Body, make only 1 main point in a 5-7 min speech...with 3 examples, stats, story, etc. I repeat a previous statement, go narrow and deep with your content because with structure, less is more! The phrase (Foundational phrase) determines what stays!! When in doubt, leave it out!
Finally work on your Opening which also has 3 parts:
Avoid being like most speakers, by trying to get across too much information in a limited time, as you'll end up rushing, having a monologue and disengaging your audience. The END RESULT will be having absolutely no change in how or what your audience thinks, feels, says or does.
To recap the main points:
With structure, less is more!
Go narrow and deep with your content
People act on doable, palatable messages!
Here's a rule of thumb re number of points discussed in a speech: 10 minutes. = 1 point (3 supporting points) In a longer presentation, you determine the number of points by taking the time allotted to you, divide the time by 10, then minus 1...that gives you the number of points you should discuss.
Go ahead and gather the tools you need to build and create a strong foundation or solid structure for your next speech or presentation to ensure that it doesn't come tumbling down but stands strong, erect and memorable.
Join us next month when we discuss the letter "T" as it relates to another speaking skill.
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