A friend recently asked me for advice on writing a speech, to be less than 3 minutes, at the Illinois state capitol about her experience raising her 23-year-old daughter with downs syndrome. No pressure, huh? Here are my top three tips for saying something impactful and leaving your audience wanting to take action in 180 seconds or less.
TIP #1 – SET A GOAL: What is the purpose of this speech? To educate? To inspire? Get funding? To pass a law? No matter who you’re speaking to, or for how long, always begin with the end in mind. On that note, consider stating your goal as the closing line of your speech. Example: “In conclusion, it’s my sincere hope that you will give my daughter’s amazing school for people with disabilities one million dollars.” So many people give great, moving speeches…and totally lose the opportunity to make the audience actually DO something because they never ask!
TIP #2 – USE STORIES: If you can think of a very short, simple yet profound anecdote, people connect with stories much quicker than facts or people just pouring their heart out. They need to understand why they should care. And frankly, you don’t have time to spare elaborating the who, what, when, where and why. A quick story will make the point.
TIP #3 – STAY POSITIVE: Especially when speaking about your own hard-knocks story, getting a law passed or trying to get funding, people in general prefer to help happy people more than complainers. It’s the typical way to go about things…to just bitch and moan. Personally, it’s not my style and I don’t think it accomplishes a goal of change. Inspire them to WANT to help, instead of trying to twist their arm by complaining for what is lacking.
**Note: This summer I’m launching a pretty cool training company for aspiring and professional speakers called Speaker School. Be on the lookout for more blog posts to help people learn how to use their voice for change in this world. Check out our website, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our Newsletter here: http://speakerschool.com