Effective Speech and Presentations



First. What’s your point?

Second. Why does it matter?


There’s no single formula for making a point and showing why it matters, but you typically won’t go wrong if you abide by four principles:

1. Give the speech a beginning, a middle, and an end.

2. Mix up the elements.
Variety can keep your audience engaged. For instance, funny stories are great. But a half-hour of nothing but zany tales can actually undermine your point. Pelting people with factoids for 40 minutes is usually a mistake. But removing them altogether is also an error. Mix it up. Audiences are so accustomed to predictable speeches that surprise can be your ally.

3. Once you’ve mapped out your speech, remove 20 percent. In all my years of preparing and watching political and business speeches, I’ve yet to hear anyone say, “Gee, I wish that speech were longer.”


4. It’s not about you.
That’s doubly true for speeches. It’s not about you. It’s about the audience. Think of it from their perspective. Again, at the risk of being too critical of all those who stride the stage or command the podium, too many speechmakers – either through nervousness or ego – seem to forget that what really matters is the audience’s experience, not their own.

5. Be Authentic

Advices stolen from Al Gore’s Chief Speechwriter

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