Mastering the Pieces of Public Speaking

If you want to create a masterpiece, you first have to master each piece. The three major pieces of public speaking are structure, content, and delivery. Mastering one means nothing if you do not master the other two. That is why it is critical to not just study speaking as a whole, but also to dive a mile deep into each piece. In this lesson, you will pick up one tool from each of the three pieces of public speaking. Then, just as a bonus, you will get one very substantial idea if you plan on using speaking to grow your income.

Three Tools (plus one) to Help you Create a Masterpiece

A Structure Tool – To be a masterful speaker you must become a masterful tease. It is imperative to become skilled at teasing your audience to want to know more. Legendary Motivational Speaker Lou Heckler once said, “Don’t tell them; take them.” In other words, don’t just tell them what happened in your story, take them into it by establishing a scene, using dialog, etc. Here is one of my foundational phrases that I keep in mind when structuring a speech: “If you can’t tease them, you can’t take them.” Here are three examples of teasing your audience to want to know more:

  • “If you understand this next point, you will find yourself moving towards your goals, dreams, and aspirations, even while you are asleep. The providence, serendipity, and grace will all be on your side pushing you toward the life you have imagined. The wildly successful people in life use this tool and it is yours for the taking.”
  • “What do you think is the number 1 thing that stands between most people and their goals? [wait for answers]. Those are all great answers and they’re all wrong. [laughter]. Actually, they are not wrong, but they are not the number 1 thing that stands in the way. The number 1 thing is not what you think.”
  • “Have you ever worked with a StatusQuoaholic? You know these people, right? They are averse to change and they say things like, ‘This is the way we’ve always done things around here. Why change. I wish for the good old days again.’ What do these people do to your team? [wait for answers and the build up of frustration]. What if you had a way to turn even the biggest StatusQuoaholics into positive forces for your team? Well, you can, but only if you implement the following tool. “

Do you see how these statements tease the audience into wanting to hear more? When you pick up a newspaper, what makes you decide whether or not to read an article? Chances are it is the headline. That is exactly what these tease-based statements do. They act as headlines and are designed solely to get your audience to want to hear what is coming next. When you become a great tease, you generate interest with ease.
A Content Tool – As soon as you introduce your characters in a story, establish the conflict right away. Get the Titanic to hit the iceberg early on because the conflict is the hook to your story. Most speakers have to much preamble before they get into their story and then they have too much unnecessary information before getting to the conflict.

Once you establish the conflict, escalate it! Look at your conflict like the water rising on the Titanic. If the water never rose on the Titanic, we would have thought it was a terrible movie. Once you establish your conflict, it is critical to ask yourself, “How can I escalate this conflict to a point of desperation? How can I raise the water on my Titanic?” When you establish and then escalate your conflict, your story keeps your audience members riveted to see how it turns out.

A Delivery Tool – Establish a story space and a conversation space on your stage as you speak. The story space is where you tell your stories and the conversation space is where you physically step out of your story and speak directly to your audience. My story space is usually a step back from my conversation space because I like to step up to make my point.

In your story space, you can be as wild and crazy as the story takes you because, after all, you are reliving what happened. However, when you step up and out of your story into the conversation space, it should be just that; a conversation with your audience members. This conversational style should be similar to the one on one conversations you have with people and it should not sound preachy, forced, or sound like you are still in your story. The story creates the emotion but the conversation keeps the connection. Having physical spaces for each helps clarify for your audience whether you are still in your story or you are now addressing them.

A Business Tool – One of the most important marketing strategies we can ever use is to give our recipients a specific next step to take and make sure we are part of that next step. Here are some examples based on various marketing tools I use:

  • When people visit my website, the next step is to sign up for my FREE Masterful Speaking Toolkit.
  • When I speak to speakers, their next step is often to invest in a certain product or service.
  • When meeting planners visit the Motivation side of my website, their next step (after reviewing my Meeting Planner section) is to download a special report and/or fill out the Request Craig form.
  • When I speak to managers, their next step is often to bring me in for Part 2 or Part 3 of that program.

Whatever your next step is, just make sure you have one. Also, do not give several options. It is best to give one specific next step for each audience (or recipient) and design your entire speech (from your very first word) or marketing piece to drive them towards that next step. A confused mind says, “No”, but a clear mind says “Go.”

Final thoughts:
If you want to create a masterpiece, I strongly suggest that you dive a mile deep into each one of the pieces of public speaking; structure, content, and delivery. What you read above is the very tiny tip of the iceberg. I have created 3 courses (1 for each piece) to help. If you do not have them yet, you can get them piecemeal or get them together for a substantial discount (through The Whole Kit and Kaboodle) at

Craig Valentine

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