None of this is about morality, or religion, or dogma, or big fancy questions of life after death. The capital-T Truth is about life before death. It is about making it to 30, or maybe 50, without wanting to shoot yourself in the head. It is about simple awareness – awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: ‘This is water, this is water.’” – David Foster Wallace
David Foster Wallace inspired millions of people with the This Is Water commencement speech to Kenyon College class of 2005.
Some people have the talent to write an impressive speech, get on stage and mesmerize the audience with their words. How do they do it? Can you do it, too?
The Elements of an Impressive Speech
If you want to understand what makes a great speech, you should listen to some of the most influential speeches ever made. In addition to This is Water, here are few more suggestions:
· The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling
· There’s More to Life than Being Happy by Emily Esfahani Smith
· How to Live Before You Die by Steve Jobs
· But the Blind Can Lead the Blind by Vera Jones
What do you notice about these speeches?
· They are memorable
· They are structured
· They are straightforward
· They are REAL
In short, those are the elements of a great speech. Yes; it takes some talent to write a brilliant speech. The good news, however, is that you can get better at it.
You Can Do It, Too!
- Find the
Purpose of Your Speech
Elena Roberts, a professional writer from EssayGeeks, shares an important tip: “Before you even pick the topic, find the purpose of your speech. I’m a motivational speech junkie. I listen to speeches every day, but that doesn’t mean I like wasting my time. I can easily spot a speaker who knows nothing about the audience and introduces a random topic, mostly based on personal experience. Then, I close the tab and search for another speech to listen.”
The first step is to understand your audience. If you’re giving a speech to students, you should address their struggles and give them solutions. If you’re talking to children, you should bring the speech to their level.
Your speech should share information, teach knowledge, and motivate people to take action in a relevant way.
- Make It
When you listen to a great speech, some of the words stick with you for a long time. You may even pin few quotes and go back to them later on. People don’t want to hear the same things over and over again. They want new approach to age-old questions.
It’s important to be as unique as possible. Express your personality from the very beginning.
- Open with a
The moment you get on stage and start the speech – that’s when your audience is most willing to listen to you. Do not waste that moment.
Here are few suggestions for an opening that can engage the listeners:
· Intriguing questions
· An interesting anecdote that’s related to the theme
· A brief story with a clear point related to the theme
· Surprising facts or statistics
· A meaningful quote that inspired you to tackle that topic
You don’t see a great speech with digressions and lengthy openings. The best ones get straight to the point.
Focus! Don’t waste the time of your audience.
- Have a
Why do you think people write their speeches? Why don’t they just get in front of the audience and speak?
It’s all about the structure. When you speak without following an outline, you tend to make digressions. That’s a good way to lose a listener.
Great speeches have a clear structure that holds the attention of the audience. Develop an outline and write a speech with a clean logical flow.
- Stay Real!
Do you know why people love motivational quotes and speeches? They can see someone understands what they are going through. If your audience doesn’t believe you’re authentic, they won’t take your fake message.
Be human. Share things you’ve been through. Give advice you believe in. That’s the most important secret to a brilliant speech.
7. Call Them to Action
What’s the whole point of listening to a motivational speech? These people want to change something. They want to make their lives better. They want to help other people. Your speech should give them a trigger to do that and a direction to aim for.
Writing a great speech is a
huge challenge. Inspiring people, however, is a priceless experience. The
result is worth the effort.