A 4-Step Formula for Making Your Speech Stick and Shine

The following is an excerpt from The Nuts and Bolts of Public Speaking book, which I wrote in 2005. It includes a 4-step formula you can use to make your messages stick and shine. I used this formula for several years and many of my students still use it with great success. 

State – Illustrate – Apply – Sell – Restate

State
First, I usually state the point I am going to make. However, sometimes I hide the point in the middle or the end of the story to keep my audience curious. Don’t worry, because  as long as you firmly establish the conflict (click here for more on this) in your story, your audience will stay with you. 

Illustrate
Then I illustrate the point through a story or through some kind of quick example. Some humorous situations, activities, and visuals can help illustrate the points as well.

Apply
Next I apply the point to the audience. In other words, I get them to see what this point has to do with them. This is the step most speakers neglect. You need to find ways to make your audience feel that they can use your message for their lives. They did not come to hear your verbal autobiography. They came to get lessons for their own lives.

Sell
Then I sell the point using the push (what happens when they don’t adhere to your point), pull (what happens when they do adhere to your point), and passion and by thoroughly understanding and expressing what benefits or results they can receive.

Restate
Finally, I restate the point to drive it home and provide completeness to it. I may restate it using different words throughout the story but then I always eventually come back to repeating the actual Foundational Phrase I want my audience to remember. 
From the Theoretical to the Practical
Depending on the type of speech it is and how much time I am given, I may or may not follow the sell section by giving a technique or strategy. Usually I do, because I believe that people will stay motivated if they have tangible things to do. You can have a longer-lasting effect on your audience if you provide techniques to go along with your theories. We should go from the theoretical to the practical and from the general to the specific. For example, after going through the story, the push and pull, and the benefits of using your imagination, I may say something like the following:

One way to sharpen your imagination is to write down your perfect day. Write it out in as much detail as possible. I did this several years ago and everything I wrote down is coming to pass. I said I wanted to be a full-time professional speaker; now I am a full-time professional speaker. I said I wanted to own my own business; now I own my own business. I said I wanted a white Mercedes Benz convertible; now I have a white… Honda Accord! I’m getting there!

This helps sell my audience on the technique of writing down their perfect day and it gives them something to do long after I have left the speaking platform. Give them something specific to do and watch as organizations remember you and keep bringing you back time and time again.

Craig Valentine

As a motivational speaker I've been fortunate to have spoken in over 20 countries, and back in 1999 Toastmasters International awarded me the World Champion of Public Speaking.

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