I had just such a privilege last night with a small group of fellow NSA-Oregon folks. The mini-workshop, called How to Make It a Great Speech, had many nuggets of wisdom, my take on which are as follows:
Make it simple
Ryan recommends that you use stories, not points, for one simple reason: Stories are more impactful and remembered.
More specifically, he suggests three stories regardless of how long the speech is. In his case, the big idea of the speech is the point you want the audience to remember…simple!
Make it impactful
Ryan kicked off this section by showing a picture of the Grand Canyon and sharing what his wife, Chelsea asked him.
What one simple message would you walk cross the Grand Canyon for so that you could share it with someone?
The magic key embedded in this was that if you fail to share what comes from your heart, what comes from who you are and what you’re about, you’ll run out of steam. To reach the heart it must come from the heart.
Make it funny
Ryan’s three rules for using humor come from three questions he asks of what he writes:
Could I use this in front of Grandma?
Could I use this in front of two or more generations?
Could I use this in front of two or more cultures?
There many places to find funny things to include in your speaking, and two universal sources are one’s own failures and one’s own family.
The bottom line
Academics have long argued about the best way to speak, and I think it’s important to remember that their inconclusive conclusion is that there is no one “best” form. At a finer level of analysis, there are differences in form for, say, a persuasive sales presentation versus a keynote speech.
For many of you, you are a professional or expert who speaks, but you may not be making what you’d define as “speeches.” That said, as a student of many, many others I can say that Ryan’s formula (only lightly represented here) was brilliant.