Hey Speaker – What’s Your Point?

by drjim on January 28, 2014

Sharp speakers know to get to the point

Sharp speakers know to get to the point
Image Credit

What’s the worst thing that speaker can do when delivering a speech? Not get to the point! Your audience is left wondering just exactly why they were willing to sit there though your speech when it seems as though there was no real reason for you to give the speech. What this means is that we’ve got to sharpen up our speaking abilities and get to the point!

Why Getting To The Point Matters

In the world of public speaking we spend a lot of time talking about how to start a speech in a way that will grab our audience’s attention. This is a key point whenever we’re talking about the importance of public speaking. However, perhaps we really should be spending our time talking about what the best way to wrap up a speech is. It turns out that the last words out of our mouths are the ones that our audience are most likely to remember. Sure seems like this is where we should be spending a lot of our planning time.

The conclusion of your speech is where you get to make your main point. It’s where you wrap up your speech and, just like in any good mystery novel, you get to reveal “who did it”. The beauty of a well done conclusion is that it provides you with one more opportunity to revisit what you’ve said and restate your main points. This is your final opportunity to make sure that your audience will both understand and “get” your main point.

How To Make Sure That You Get To The Point

There is no way that you’ll be able to share your main point with your audience if you never get to it. What this means for you is that you have a responsibility when you are designing your next speech to take the time and plan out how you want to work your main point in. If you make room for it, then you’ll be sure to cover it during your speech.

The first thing that you are going to have to do is to make time to cover your main point. There are a number of different ways of going about doing this; however, my favorite is the 15-70-15 rule. This is where 15% of your time is spent on the opening, 70% is spent making your case during the middle, and then you spent the last 15% of your speech making your point during your conclusion.

The words that you use when you are making your point are critical. What this means is that you don’t want to leave them to chance. Instead, take the time to write them out before you give your speech. This is the one time that memorizing the words that you are going to want to say is highly recommended.

What All Of This Means For You

As speakers we have an unwritten agreement with our audience. They agree to sit through our speech and we agree to make sure that our speech has a point to it. This is one of the unstated benefits of public speaking. If we don’t deliver, then our audience is going to quickly realize it and they are not going to be happy with us!

The reason that making sure that your speech has a point is so important is because it’s what closes your presentation – everyone will realize that you are done. Your point is the thing that you want your audience to remember about your speech. That’s why you have to plan your time wisely in order to ensure that you’ll have enough time to make your point. Make sure that how you state your point is clearly done.

As speakers we give speeches because we want to make an impact on our audiences. In order for this to occur, we need to make sure that they understand why we gave the speech in the first place. Making sure that your next speech has a definite point is a critical part of doing this.

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

Question For You: What the best way to test your speech to make sure that it has a clear point?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
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

If you ask a professional speaker who knows about the importance of public speaking what the best way to become a better public speaker is, I’d be willing to bet you that they’ll tell you “practice, practice, practice”. Now, that’s all good and such, but we’re living in the 21st Century, if we don’t have a live audience that we can test our ideas out on, shouldn’t there be another way? It turns out that there is – social media.

Be Sociable, Share!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob Biesenbach January 28, 2014 at 10:26 am

Great post, Jim! I find that in any kind of writing, people are often at a loss when it comes to the conclusion, and they end up just repeating what they wrote or said—as opposed to taking the argument to the next level. Love the idea of starting by composing the conclusion!

Reply

drjim January 31, 2014 at 8:02 am

Rob: Thanks! What is interesting is that if this is not the way that you generally create a speech, it can be quite a challenge to start at the back and work your way forwards. However, the results make it well worth the effort!

Reply

Ian March 2, 2014 at 2:03 am

“As speakers we have an unwritten agreement with our audience. They agree to sit through our speech and we agree to make sure that our speech has a point to it.”

Yes, there is a bit of a sacred trust between speaker and audience, and all too often it’s the speaker who fails on their end of the bargain. First thing you say, last thing you say, and your message in the form of a foundational phrase – these are the bits that in my experience are most likely to stick with our audience.

Perhaps the main reason why many speakers fail to get to the point is because they never stopped to fully articulate their point before they began the speech crafting process. Beginning with the end in mind is a great way to make sure that your speech has a point (and that you get to it)

Ian

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: