How to give the perfect speech

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There are 99 problems, but there is only 1 speech.

When you speak in public, keep this in mind. When giving a speech, online or otherwise, you tend to want to give a lot of information. Just be aware that people do not really want to hear all the lists and arguments that you think are super important. Therefore, never start a speech (online or not) without first checking this list:

1. Be memorable

Everyone knows the famous words 'I have a dream'. Martin Luther King attracted so much attention with this statement that he managed to capture the essence of his speech in that one quote.

Try it! Reduce your speech to just one sentence which conveys the main message. Another simple trick: make the key sentence rhyme. This not only makes it easy to remember, it also makes it sound more logical and people accept it more readily.

2. Set up a structure

Your audience likes structure, they expect you to introduce your topic and then go straight to the point, without distractions. So keep your speech simple, without confusing elements and side-steps. Read your text and delete every sentence that does not help to make your point.

3. Know who you are speaking to

Think about who you are speaking to in advance and choose the appropriate tone of voice. Who am I speaking to? Why? What is the setting?

4. Keep your intro short

Do not waste time thanking people or explaining in detail who you are. You could maybe start with a joke related to your topic or ask a (rhetorical) question and then go on with the content of your story.

5. Be human

The person behind a speech is at least as important as the message. Tell something about yourself and be personal, it will create trust and credibility. Write your speech like you would recite it in front of your best friends.

6. Support your story with images

This is especially important when you give your speech online. After your fantastic intro, the home crowd is curious and all eyes are on you. Now it is important to keep the attention throughout the presentation. Support your speech with meaningful images and always alternate factual information with examples - preferably human stories - and use as little text as possible in your presentation. When you are speaking in front of a room of people, it can often be powerful not to use a presentation or image at all.


7. End clearly

Summarise the essence of your speech and incite action.  Make an appeal, ask a (rhetorical) question, make a promise... but above all, keep it short.

8. Keep it short

The longer you speak, the more likely you are to make mistakes and your audience to lose interest. So make your point briefly and clearly and then clear the stage.