When you are a business leader, there may come a time when people want to hear what you have to say about starting or running their own company.
When that day comes, will you be ready to write a speech detailing the secrets of your success? Do you know how to?
If not, it’s okay; there are plenty of resources available to teach how to write a speech. However, why settle for simply writing a speech when you could write a memorable one?
Since you are going to take time out to deliver a speech anyway, you might as well make sure it’s one that will stick with your audience long after you say, “thank you.”
Here are six steps you can follow to write a memorable speech.
#1: Have a point that’s easy to decipher.
There is not much chance an audience will remember your speech if it is unsure what it was supposed to be about. Whatever your topic is, decide on a main point and hammer it home throughout the speech.
The audience will be more likely to retain what you talked about and will appreciate you taking their time seriously enough to prepare.
#2: Make sure your speech is well constructed.
When you write your speech, think of it the same way you would if you were writing an essay, with a beginning, middle and end. Rather than just jump into your speech, tell the audience what you are going to talk about as an introduction.
Keep the audience on the journey with you by verbally letting it know you’re moving onto the next point with clear transitional phrases like, “my next point is.” In your conclusion, recap each of the points you covered to help refresh everyone’s memory of the material you covered.
#3: Write with your audience in mind.
Your speech is to inform, educate or entertain—or maybe all three. Regardless of the goal, the fact remains this experience is about the audience.
Write in a way so that your audience understands what you are saying. This means you should know your audience before you write the first word of your speech. You wouldn’t want to use a lot of business-oriented or scientific terms in speech you’re giving to a roomful of artists or vice versa. Make your prose relatable to the people you’ll be speaking to. If the audience is a general one then stick with terminology that isn’t too specific to any particular industry.
#4: Remember that you’re human—remind the audience you are, too.
When you are up on stage and there are people down below, it can be easy for both parties to stop thinking of you as a person and instead as a, “speaker.”
To get them, and yourself, to think of you as a person first, open up with a funny story or admit to being a little nervous, as anyone can relate to that feeling. It also helps to have a natural delivery so you sound like you’re talking with the audience, rather than at them or like you’re reading.
#5: Return to your key points.
You want everyone to remember your entire speech ideally, but it is only natural that some things you say will be forgotten. For the parts you want to make sure stay with audience, repeat them throughout your speech.
You don’t have to use the same exact words every time, but decide on the themes that are the most important and sprinkle them throughout your presentation to ensure they’re the most impactful messages and the most easily remembered.
#6: Timing is everything.
Whoever asks you to speak should let you know how much time you have to give your speech. Take this allotment into consideration when you’re writing. If you are expected to be on stage for an hour, include breaking points where you engage with the audience or include some graphic elements. Even the most attentive group would struggle to maintain focus for 60 minutes straight of talking.
If you’re told, “however long you think it should be,” stick with a shorter presentation so the audience does not get bored and there will be more time for questions afterwards.
The important thing is to make the speech long enough so it covers what you want to discuss, but short enough so the audience does not get bored. If it does get bored, it is unlikely your speech will be remembered.