5 Things Your Next Speech MUST Include

It’s easy for a speech to fall flat, and there’s no such thing as a ‘checklist’ for the perfect speech. That said, I think that making sure you’re including these 5 things in your next speech can ensure you have a great chance of wowing your audience.

Strong Opening 

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The first few lines of your presentation should set the tone for everything that will follow. If you’re nervous, it can be easy to slip into autopilot for the first few lines, until you find your comfort zone, but if you deliver the lines in a monotonous manner, people will be asleep before you’ve finished the introduction.

Start as you mean to continue; smile, introduce yourself and set the tone for what will follow. I love this article on three powerful ways to start your speech; they’ll really help make your introduction shine.

Appropriate Use of ‘Props’

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Every speech seems to rotate the same few ‘props’; powerpoint presentation, lectern, a slide clicker etc.

Don’t choose to use or discard something purely because it is or is not “the done thing”. If your presentation slides add nothing to your performance, cut them out. If having a demonstration table would improve your speech, ask for one. It is not important that you fit in with other presentations; the important thing is that you are providing your audience with the best speech possible.

Personal Evidence

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Are you familiar with the acronym PEP? PEP (Point – Example – Point) argues that for every point you make, you should provide an example, and then use that to reiterate your point. Examples need to be fleshed out as much as possible. While you should back up your point with statistics, graphs, and diagrams, anecdotal evidence can really help the audience understand and appreciate the point you are making.

Make it personal; use examples from your own life to help make your points relevant.

A Callback

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A callback is a standup comedy device, where you refer back to an earlier joke to create humour.  They work in a way similar to an in-joke, developing a rapport between you and your audience. Tom Antion describes how you can utilise the callback in your next speech here.

The article above discusses using the callback for comic purposes, trying to spurn a laugh from your audience. However, it can be used in another way, too. Brad Phillips provides a great example of a non-comic callback here, which I think can be an incredibly effective way to close your next speech.

Something Completely Different

Whether your audience agrees or disagrees with it, a surprising statement will generate far more response than a line they’ve heard a thousand times.

I’m not suggesting you court controversy, but make sure that you’re saying what nobody else is saying.  Give your audience an insight that no one else is privy to, look at the evidence in a surprising way, or approach the topic from a whole new angle. Your audience will appreciate it.


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Ali Coulson

Photo Credit: Parker Knight, Mónica, M and jared, all via Compfight cc, University of Salford Press Office via WikiMedia