This guest post is by M. Miche Suboski, Your Business Advisor.
We have all been bored to tears by a speech. We have all heard speeches that sound interesting at first and quickly switch to daydreaming when we realize how unrealistic it was. Some of us have given speeches in which we were horrified to see in one dreadful glance that we had bored the socks off a few and lost the rest of the audience we were supposed to have engaged. It is an incredibly painful experience.
Once you have experienced this as a speaker you become committed, truly committed to never having it happen again … which is probably why you are here reading this. Believe me, it can get better.
Although there are other essential components of a speech, two of the most fundamental are that it be both compelling and grounded.
Being compelling is a relative assessment. Only those that hear it can say whether or not it was compelling. You cannot simply recite your speech in a vacuum. You must try it out on those for whom it is meant.
How do you make a speech compelling? A quick, high-level check is to ask:
Who is my audience?
What is it they care about?
How can I help to make that happen?
Step 1 – Keep looking at your speech as you write it from the perspective of your audience and their concerns, then how does this help them make that happen.
Step 2 – Have those listening to the speech as you practice hold the role of your audience. Make sure as you have them critique (make them take notes), they tell you how they felt as you spoke different parts. Having them respond to your intellectual arguements will only confuse things. You will know you are being compelling if they sit forward, nod their heads or get goose bumps (we all wish!!). If they yawn, look at their watch or get glassy eyed … change that part.
Having a well grounded speech is one that has a fair number of grounded assessments. An assessment is grounded if facts are either presented or globally accepted that back them up. A fabulous paper written by Peter Denning “Assertions and Assessments – CS4900 Technology and Transformation” can begin to shine a light on how we speak to move others into action.
A well grounded speech will include:
- assessments that include assertions (facts) with the speech
- assessments that have assertions (facts) backing it up that are globally accepted
Step 1 – Look through your speech. Are there assessments in the speech? If so, are they backed up with fact?
Step 2 – Get rid of any and all assessments that cannot be grounded in fact.
Those of us that speak to what our audience truly cares about and speak to them in a way that motivates them to action will not have to fear the dazed look of the disinterested, or worse, have to speak to the back of departing participants. How wonderful is that?