In our last blog post we went through a step-by-step process of preparing to make a speech. Here are a few more ideas that may help you next time!


Don’t forget

Less is best – the more you say, the less your audience will remember…

  • Be appropriately brief. Research shows that today’s audiences have an attention span of just on 18 minutes – the period between commercials on prime -time television!
  • Push a single concept. The podium is no place for multiple messages and muddled meanderings.


Smile & ponder

Max Walker, former Australian test cricketer turned author and public speaker, says one of his worst experiences with public speaking was when he expected to be addressing a hundred blind people – and arrived to find a hall full of deaf people instead!

‘Imagine. I’m trying to be funny on some bloke’s fingers and all the laughs are coming back about sixty seconds later!

But it worked – and the moral is that, when necessary, you’ve got to be flexible enough to readjust the speech you prepared for your audience and make it work.’



“Centuries ago, Marcus Cato led his successful campaign of rhetoric with the phrase ‘Carthage must be destroyed’, repeated over and over in speech after speech. That’s what it took to persuade his compatriots. This historical precedent has relevance for speakers.

In speechmaking, keep the main points you’re going to emphasise and re-emphasise extremely simple. Even if you repeat, people can’t remember more than three of four simple points at the most.

If you want the brutal truth, you’ll be lucky if your audience can recall even one central idea the next day.

So, figure out what that one most important thought is. Crystallise it into a memorable phrase, if you can. You may supplement it with a variety of supporting facts and stories, but try to point them all at your one big central point.”

Donald Walton in Are You Communicating?


Here’s an idea

The key to preparing a speech is to begin at the end. Write down what you will want the audience to do or feel as a result of having heard your speech. Keep this in perspective at all times as you structure and provide content in preparing the presentation.


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