The Best Speeches Have A Lot Of You In Them

by drjim on May 4, 2010

The Best Speeches Contain The Stories That You Can Dig Up From Your Life

The Best Speeches Contain The Stories That You Can Dig Up From Your Life

Congratulations – you’ve been asked to give a speech. Got one to give? Unless someone has asked you to deliver a speech that you’ve already given multiple times, you’re probably in the spot that most speakers find themselves all too often – standing in the middle of tracks while the train known as your speaking date comes racing towards you. What’s an accidental communicator to do?

What Makes A Speech Memorable

Let’s all agree on one thing first: if your speech is not memorable, then it’s really not worth giving. Starting from that point, you may start to feel some pressure – how the heck are you going to make your next speech memorable?

It turns out that there are a lot of ways to do this; however, the simplest way to do it is to work more of “you” into your speech. This means that you’ve got to find ways to share just exactly what makes you you with your audience. This boils down to one thing: you need to tell your audience some of your stories.

As I think back over all of the speeches that I’ve had an opportunity to listen to over my life, the handful that really stand out are the ones in which the speaker did a good job of sharing. You’ve got to remember that before they opened their mouth, I didn’t know anything about them. However, the personal stories that they told were so engrossing that they hooked me – I not only listened, but I’ve remembered their stories over the years since they spoke.

How To Go About Uncovering Your Stories

Fantastic you say, but I don’t have any stories to tell. Or at least no stories that anyone is going to want to hear. I hear you there – once upon a time I thought the same thing.

It turns out that your life story is a great story that, told well, everyone will want to hear. Now, you’ve been asked to give a speech and no, they haven’t really asked you to come and spend the time talking about yourself. However, adding your personal stories to the speech will make any speech have more impact.

One of the reasons that incorporating your personal stories into a speech can lend so much impact what you are saying is because you were there – you actually lived what you are talking about. This means that when you explain what happened, you will describe it using words that will build a vivid mental image for your audience.

Additionally, as you tell your story your body language will naturally synch with your words. This means that your audience will be getting a reinforcing message from your body even as you speak.

What All Of This Means To You

All too often when we get asked to deliver a speech we focus on doing the research needed to create a good speech but we neglect to do what it takes to make a great speech. A great speech is one that includes more of our personal content in it.

In order to personalize a story, we need to include more of our own stories. This means that we need to spend some time thinking about the things that have happened in our lives that would support the topic that we’ll be speaking on.
Speakers who can work their personal stories into a speech are the ones that will make a lasting impact. As long as you are going to go to the effort of giving a speech, doesn’t this seem like a good thing to do?

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills

Question For You: Do you think that it might be possible to work too much of your personal story into a speech?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I think that it was Bruce Springsteen who in his song “57 Channels (and Nothin’ On)” lamented that although he now had access to 500 channels, there really was nothing on that he wanted to watch. Well of course not, you weren’t on TV yet. However, in the very near future this may all change…

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