What Role Could A Song Play In Your Next Speech?

Adding a song to your next speech is something your audience won't be expecting
Adding a song to your next speech is something your audience won’t be expecting
Image Credit: Ferran Jordà

I can tell you that as a speaker, every time that I take the stage, deep down inside of me I am desperately hoping that I’ll be good enough this time to hold on to my audience’s attention during the length of my speech and show them the importance of public speaking. The good new is that sometimes this does happen; however, the bad news is that sometimes it does not. What I am always looking for is a way to grab my audience’s attention and I think that I may have found it: use a song.

The Role Of Songs In Speeches

I must confess that the initial power of using a song in a speech comes from the simple fact that your audience is not going to be expecting you to use a song – their surprise will gain you their attention. There are three reasons why songs are a good fit for a speech: more often than not songs tell a story, they are generally quite short, and the best ones have an infectious melody.

Yes, you can start to sing a song at any point in your speech. However, you are also going to have to talk about that song with your audience. Songs are generally short and so you are going to have to take the time and explain the details of the song’s story to your audience. It will be important that the framework of your speech supports you telling the meaning behind the story. Where you add song to your speech matters also. Generally, using a song to transition between different parts of your speech works the best.

If you are going to sing any part of a song during your speech, you may want to consider singing the song’s chorus line. Remember that the chorus line was designed to be catchy and memorable. There is a very good chance that the chorus is the only part of the song that your audience actually remembers. The good thing about adding a chorus line to your speech is that you can borrow the song’s emotional tone and add that to your speech. If done correctly, adding a chorus line to your speech can also add some humor to the speech.

Using Soundtracks

I am more than willing to admit that I cannot sing. Now mind you, that does not mean that I will not use a speech as an excuse to belt out a tune or two. However, what I’m probably going to be getting from my audience will not be excitement and anticipation of my next song rendition, but rather a type of sympathy for someone who can’t sing but still keeps on trying.

As an alternative to trying to sing songs in my own less-than-stellar fashion, I do have a fallback that I can always rely on. What is this magical musical fallback you ask? Why it’s my old friend the soundtrack. You can find soundtracks to use just about anywhere. They come from movies, television shows, and there are even commercially released soundtrack albums. What you are going to want to do as a speaker is to use soundtracks that will remind your audience of specific points in time during their lives.

Incorporating a soundtrack into a speech is something that is done quite often by good speakers. What you want to do with a soundtrack is to use the music to invoke memories in your audience of perhaps their childhood. maybe some person that they knew, or perhaps a romantic relationship. Using a soundtrack in your speech will allow you to hold on to your audience’s attention while at the same time creating feelings of nostalgia in your audience that will cause them to do a better job of remembering what you said.

What All Of This Means For You

I’m pretty sure that when we go to the effort of giving a speech, we all want the same thing: to capture our audience’s attention and to use the benefits of public speaking to ensure that our message to be remembered after we’re done talking. In order to make this happen, we need to be memorable. One way to make this happen is to work song into your next speech.

The reason that a song can make any speech more memorable is in part because it will be unexpected –you’ll surprise your audience. The nature of a song (short stories with a tune) make them well suited to speeches; however, you will probably have to provide some background explanation when you use a song in a speech. For those of us who don’t sing, we can use songtracks. Songtracks are a great way to invoke memories in our audience and get them to remember what we are telling them.

Speakers are always looking for new tools that they can use to make their next speech even better. Using a song in your next speech can provide you with a way to make more of an impact with your speech. Pick a tune and then share it with your audience and you’ll both make beautiful music together!

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

Question For You: If you add music to a speech, do you think that you should use just one song or can you use multiple songs in a single speech?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Nope, I don’t think that there is anyone out there who thinks that despite the importance of public speaking that giving a speech is an easy thing to do. First there is the process that you have to go through to come up with a good idea for a speech, then you have to write the speech and this is followed by countless hours of practicing the speech and finally you have to go through the nerve racking process of actually giving the speech. Not an easy thing to do. However, working out is not an easy thing to do either. Could it be possible that giving a speech is similar to giving your brain a workout?