How To Create Speeches That Will Stick With Your Audience

The reason that we give presentations is because we want to be remembered
The reason that we give presentations is because we want to be remembered
Image Credit: Will Fuller

Let’s all agree on one thing: giving a speech is not an easy thing to do! There is the planning, the writing, the practice and then the delivery. As long as we are going to be going to the effort to deliver a speech, the one thing that we all want to achieve is to be remembered. What we want to do is the share the importance of public speaking and for our speech to be “sticky” so that our audience to be able to remember what we told them days, and even weeks after our speech is over. What this means is that we are going to have to craft our speech in a way that will allow us to remain in our audience’s heads even after we are done talking. So just exactly how does one go about creating a “sticky speech”?

Keep The Abstractions To A Minimum

If we want our audience to be able to remember what we told them, then one of the most important things that you can do is make sure that the message that you are delivering is not abstract. This is a key problem with a lot of the speeches that we give. What we like to focus on during our speech is the so-called “big picture”. When we are talking about the big picture, we tend to talk at high levels and this causes problems. When we are talking at high levels, we tend to not provide any concrete details about our subject. The result is that we don’t make our topic understandable or plausible.

A mistake that speakers make is in how they go about building their speeches. All too often what we will do is to include three parts exposition and then we’ll add one part example. It turns out that this is opposite of what we should be doing. Speakers need to understand that the examples that we can share with our audience are the key to their understanding of what we are telling them. All too often we rely on our data to tell our story. What we need to realize is that data can be abstract and so we must not lead our speech with it. Instead, tell stories that you can work your data into.

It’s All About Your Main Points

We can all become overwhelmed by the amount of data that we collect when we are building a speech. We come to treasure all of our data and, of course, we want to include all of it in our speech. However, if we do this we run the risk of losing our audience. It’s just going to be too much for them to take in let alone remember. Often what happens is that we build a speech and then when we take a step back from it we realize that it contains too much information. When this happens, we know that we have to cut some of that information out of the speech. This can be very difficult for us to do because we think that it’s all important.

Speakers need to change how they think about the speeches that they have created. If their speech contains too much information, then each piece of information will be vying with other pieces of information to get the audience’s attention. The resulting noise will prevent your main points from being recognized and remembered. Instead of regretting removing information from our speech, what we need to do is to change how we view this. We need to think about it as allowing our main points to have more stage time so that they can be fully appreciated.

Add Some Reality To Your Speech

Our speeches are built on words. We also like to work images into our speeches to support those words. However, our words and our images can serve to numb our audiences to what we are telling them. They get lulled by what we are saying and then our ideas stop sinking in and instead just start to bounce off of them. As speakers when we see something like this starting to happen, we need to stop what we are doing and change things up.

In a situation like this, a dose of reality is what will be required in order to get your audience to start to once again really listen to what you are telling them. You can introduce this dose of reality into your speech in a number of different ways. One way is though the words that you use. If you stop your speech, and then make a bold statement that your audience was not expecting, you will have succeeded in waking them up from the lull that they had settled into. If you start to do something with your hands, bang on the podium, take something apart, or even clap, you can capture their attention. Just bringing reality back into your speech can allow you to recapture an audience that had started to drift away from your speech.

What All Of This Means For You

The speeches that we give represent who we are. We spend a great deal of time and effort both creating and presenting them. The one thing that we would all like to have happen is for our audience to remember what we told them and, with a little luck, for it to change their lives. In order for this to happen, our speech has to be “sticky” – they have to be able to remember it. Making a speech sticky is not something that just happens. Instead, when we are creating the speech we need share the benefits of public speaking and do specific things that will make the speech memorable.

One of the biggest problems with the speeches that we give is that we make them too abstract. We tend to focus on the big picture and we leave out the concrete details. We put too much high level information into the speech and not enough examples. We need more examples! The reason that we’re giving a speech is to communicate our main points. If we add too much information to our speech, we run the risk of drowning out our main points. We need to prune our speeches so that our main points can shine. While we are giving a speech, there is always the possibility that we could start to lose our audience. If this starts to happen, then we need to stop what we are doing and insert a dose of reality into our speech. By doing this we’ll wake our audience up and get them to once again pay attention to what we are telling them.

We don’t go to the effort of giving a speech just to hear ourselves talk. Instead we’d like to change the world. In order to make this happen, our speeches need to be sticky and they need to remain with our audience long after we are done talking. Creating a sticky speech is not hard to do, we just need to understand what it takes to make a speech be memorable. If we can start to create speeches that are sticky, then we will have been able to get our message to remain with our audience and we just might be able to change the world.

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

Question For You: When you are giving a speech, how many main points do you think that you should have?

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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 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

Let’s face it – giving a speech can be a nerve wracking experience. Sure, you’ve created a speech and hopefully you’ve taken the time to practice it. However, when you are up there standing in front of a room of people who are all staring at you and you are thinking about the importance of public speaking, it can be a truly unsettling experience. I’m sorry but there is nothing that I can tell you that will ever make this experience go away. However, the good news is that there are a number of tips that I can share with you that can help you to boost your confidence so that the next time you get to give a speech, you can do it with gusto.