Powerful speeches have the ability to change the life of an individual or even the lives of those in an entire nation. Would Americans have had the confidence necessary to triumph in World War II without President Roosevelt’s famous “a date that will live in infamy” declaration of war speech? Would the civil rights movement have garnered the necessary attention to change legislation without Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech?
These speeches were successful because they effectively communicated an idea. One of the best ways to inspire a community to turn an idea into a reality is through public speaking opportunities, but if the speech is static, dull and does not effectively convey the idea, it may only encourage listeners to improve their doodling skills, beat a level on Angry Birds or even take a nap.
So how do you ensure that the next speech you write will be a catch, not a catastrophe?
Here’s 3 Tips to Writing an Effective Speech AKA Communicating an Idea
- Connection—It’s paramount that the speaker creates a connection with the audience. Before a single sentence is written ask yourself these questions: What is important to the audience? Who is important to the audience? What drives them? Hopefully the motivators in the audience align with what the company or individual is ultimately trying to achieve. (If not maybe a new audience that does should be found.) Once you’ve determined these motivators, discover how you can leverage the things that drive the audience to achieve your desired result. When a speaker is able to connect with an audience by tapping into what is truly important to them, the audience will be eager to take action.
- Vision—Give the audience the big picture. In order for the audience to visualize your dream for the future they need to have a clear picture of the current status. Describing a fantastic future to be had when your goal is accomplished is illusive unless it is compared to the current status. By doing this you’ve created the foundation as to why your vision is desirable which is to obtain a better status—a status that directly relates to what’s important to them.
- Story—Stories stick. According to Nancy Duarte, a brilliant presenter on communications methods, “the way ideas are most effectively conveyed are through stories.” But it’s critical to not just tell any story—share a story that enables the audience to connect to the vision. That’s when the magic happens.
The acronym for these steps is CVS. Just as CVS Pharmacy has what you need in the moment, these speech writing tips will provide a moment in time that will inspire your audience to be the envisioned change to obtain the desired result.
While the next speech I write isn’t likely to change the course of American history; I do believe it will share an idea and inspire the audience to achieve. And when an idea is captured by others and acted upon the number of lives changed is dependent upon those who grab a hold of the idea and run with it. Let’s rise to the challenge and compose speeches that inspire our audience to sprint to a new future.