How you can create a speech in less than 10 mins that is equally effective and to-the-point (without all the fluff!)
1. Start with the conclusion!
Echoing Steven Covey’s 2nd habit, it is critical to have the end in mind. In the case
of your speech, ask yourself what’s your message? Are you convincing the board to
say yes to the new IT project? Are you inspiring your committee to work as team?
Are you persuading your customers to buy your product? No matter what speech
you make, however long or short it is, you ALWAYS have a message!
Sidenote: If your speech is a relatively short one (say 5-10 mins), focus on just
one message. In that way, your audience has a higher chance of remembering it.
2. Three points max
What are three reasons why this IT project is critical to the growth of your company?
What are three ways your team can follow their heart?
What are three problems that can be solved by using your product?
For every point you made, substantiate with an example or even tell a mini story to
underscore your point.
3. Work on an attention grabber
The first 30 seconds of your speech is the most important as your audience will
subconsciously decide if they should listen to you for the next 9 minutes and 30
seconds. So you should always aim to grab their attention right from the start. It can
come in many forms. Here is a list of attention grabbers that you can try for size.
Reference to a current event
My personal favorite is the use of rhetorical questions because it gets the audience
thinking. There was once I gave a keynote speech that inspires the audience to live
for the moment. I started my keynote with three questions.
When was the last time you sat down and saw the entire sunset?
When was the last time you have ever taste your food?
When was the last time you have called your mum and tell her how much you love her?
That immediately set the tone of my keynote. My guess is that most of them have
not done the above three things for a long long time. Asking these rhetorical
questions gets them interested to know what I have to say next.
Together with your attention grabber is an answer to the following question – “Why
should the audience listen to you?” or “What’s in it for them?” This will create a stake
for them and you will have them eating from your hands.
Practice makes permanence! I cannot emphasize the importance of practice! Try out
the techniques as often as you can. You will find yourself getting increasingly
competent. With the extra time at hand, you can then focus on improving the quality
of your speech or honing your delivery skills. In no time, you will be on your way to
become a highly effective speaker!
“It usually takes more than three weeks to write a good impromptu speech.” American writer Mark Twain
“The very best impromptu speeches are the ones written well in advance.” American writer Ruth Gordon
“Always be shorter than anybody dared to hope!” Lord Reading, English politician
“Be sincere; be brief; be seated.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt
With these factors in mind, let us look at 10 commonly used attention grabbers.
1. Ask a question
2. Use an anecdote or story
3. Give a definition
4. Use a quote
5. Use an analogy
6. Use humor
7. Relate a personal experience
8. Give a demonstration
9. Do a survey
10. Give a quiz