5 Ways to Make Your Speech Stick

What good is giving a speech that is quickly forgotten by your audience? In this lesson, you will find 5 tools you can use to make your speech stick in the minds and hearts of your audience members. As a result, you can get rehired time and time again. As I always say, when you get the Buzz, you get the Biz. If you want more business, make your speech create a buzz that lingers even when you have left the speaking platform.

1. Use a Rule of Thumb

Too many speakers try to get across too much information in too little time. The old speaker proverb states “When you squeeze your information in, you squeeze your audience out.” There is no time to connect or really relate when you are rushing through your material. Plus, when you try to get across too many points, you end up accomplishing nothing because your audience is overwhelmed.

My rule of thumb is this: For every 10 minutes I speak, I feel I can make one major point, illustrate it effectively, and make it palatable for my audience. Therefore, in a 45-minute speech, I make 4 points. In a 30-minute speech, I limit myself to 3 points. It is far more effective to deliver fewer points in a mile-deep fashion than to deliver several points by just scratching the surface. Perhaps your rule of thumb will differ, but just make sure you realize less is more when it comes to driving home points.

2. Be Specific so you Can be Memorable

Whether you give hints about how your characters look (see previous blog entry) or you set your seen with the Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Smell (VAKS), you should be specific. Here are some things that should be specific in your speech.

Time: Instead of saying, “A while ago” say, “On August 21st of 1999, I stood on the stage at the world championships.”

Weight: Instead of saying, “That package was heavy” say, “That package was 34.5 pounds of plastic.”

Places: Instead of saying, “I went to a hotel” say, “I was in room 437 of the Suncoast Casino, which is about 20 miles off the Las Vegas strip.” Believe it or not, many audience members will actually picture the 437 sign (and your hotel room door) in their minds.

Giving specific references helps audience members not only see your speech but it also builds the credibility of your story. How? Well, if you say 34.5 pounds, then we (as the audience) know you really weighed it. If you say “August 21st 1999” we automatically feel it must be a very important date and event in your life because you were able to remember it.

Be specific so you can be memorable and build your credibility with your audience.

3. Get your audience members to say it

Tom Hopkins, author of Master the Art of Selling, said, “If I say it, they can doubt me, but if they say it, it is true to them.” Getting your audience members to say pieces of your message does wonders for making those messages stick with them. For example, during my 3 Gs to Greatness keynote, once I finish each point, I call back to them by saying, “Use your Unique _______” and then I put my hand to my ear as if I want them to finish the sentence. The audience says, “Gifts!” Then I say, “Set your ______” and they say, “Guide.” When they say it, they recall it easier and they buy into it quicker. The law of consistency says that people will act in alignment with what they verbally declare. Therefore getting that declaration goes a long way in having your audience remember your message. Plus, people buy into what they help create. Having your audience help create your speech almost guaranees their buy-in.

The way to get your audience members to say it is for you to first repeat the phrases a few times within your speech. Then, by the end of each section, they will be able to pick up on the cadence and then content of said phrases. For example, after repeating “You are either on the way or in the way,” all I have to do is say, “You are either on the way or?” and my audience automatically finishes the rest.

4. Repeat your message in different ways

Although it is fine to repeat the same phrase (and you should) as you call back to it throughout your speech, you can also use different phrases to drive home the same message. For example, I have a Foundational Phrase that “Your Dream is not for sale.” However, I also repeat, “Do not let the good get in the way of the best” and this second phrase helps drive home the same fundamental message as the first phrase. You do not have to use the same exact words to drive home the same message.

5.  Silence

The reason many ideas do not stick with audience members is because these audience members are not given adequate time to process and reflect on the ideas. If they cannot reflect on how they will use these ideas in their lives, they will likely forget them. Whenever you state your core messages (your Foundational Phrases) ask your audience a question to get them to reflect on the message and then be completely silent during that reflection.

For example, I say, “Sometimes the enemy of the best is the good. So let me ask you a question, when it comes to your dream, are you too good to be great?” I see audience members jolt as if they were hit with a shot of reality when I ask that question. This is the time for me to hush up and give them several seconds to reflect on it. Find strategic times throughout your program to give these major periods of silence (several seconds at least) and let the repetitive messages seek through.

Final thoughts:

Each one of the above-mentioned tools helps your speech stick. However, they work best when used in conjunction with the other tools. For example, if you repeat your phrases throughout your speech, your audience will be able to say them. If you grant silence after those repetitions, your audience will be able to reflect regularly throughout the program. If you have too many of these phrases and points, your audience will get overwhelmed and tune out. Therefore, it is important to use all 5 of the tools above. When you do, you will get the buzz that gets the _________.

Craig Valentine

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