Four Ways to Tighten Up Your Speech

Four Ways to Tighten Up Your Speech

By Craig Valentine

Four Ways to Tighten Up Your Speech

One of the biggest problems presenters make is giving speeches that are too loose. By loose I mean their content is not tied to anything. Therefore, it is not be memorable or meaningful. As a result, they see audience members shifting uncomfortably in their seats and feel like they are losing them with every word.

The solution is to make sure every major point you make in your speech is tied to an anchor of some sort. An anchor is anything that helps your audience members remember your points. In other words, when they think back to your anchor, they automatically recall the message that accompanies it. When a non-attendee asks your audience members what you talked about, your message will be at the front of their brains.

Here are four major anchors you can use to make your speech stick. I call them the 4 As for Anchors.

1. Anecdotes (stories)

By far the greatest way to anchor a point is with a story. This is because, in addition to being memorable, stories also evoke emotions that get your audience to not only hear your speech but to feel it too. Surely you still remember the childhood stories such as The Boy Who Cried Wolf or even The Wizard of Oz. When you remember these stories, you immediately recall the messages (lessons) that were attached to them.

2. Activities

Have you ever been in a class or workshop that included an activity? Think back to it. Now see if you can remember the point the activity made. When done well, activities not only act as anchors, they also re-energize your audience in the process.

3. Analogies

I regularly use the old classic metaphor of the crabs in a barrel (pulling each other down as they try to get out) to explain what happens when you hang around negative people. When my audience thinks of the crabs in a barrel, they remember to be careful who they keep close to them. The key here is to compare something your audience knows (or can picture) to something they do not yet understand. There is an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words but a metaphor is worth a thousand pictures. They are that powerful!

4. Acronyms

In a workshop I gave recently, I used PARTS as a formula for creating captivating content in a speech. These acronyms work well because they have a built-in formula that is easy for your audience to follow. For example, my audience knows after I finish with P, which stands for Phrase, I will move onto the A. Whenever your audience knows your roadmap, your speech becomes tighter to them.

Final thoughts

When your audience thinks back on any of these anchors, they automatically remember the points that are attached. A great way to make sure your speech sticks is to mix these anchors within one speech. I regularly use all 4 of them even in a short 45-minute speech. The idea is to simply move from one anchor to the next. When you use a good mix of anchors, you keep your audience energized and they walk away with your message that they can grasp with ease. Always tie your content to these anchors and you will forever keep your speech tight.

Craig Valentine, the 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking, is an internationally-known professional speaker, author, and speech coach. Do you want to increase your number of speaking opportunities, maximize each engagement, and become a speaker in high demand? Great! Visit and get a year’s worth of speaking lessons for free.