Limited Time Means Faster Speech Creation Skills Are Needed

When you don't have a lot of time to create a speech, you still need to do a good job…
When you don’t have a lot of time to create a speech, you still need to do a good job…Image Credit

How long did it take you to create the last speech that you gave? No, I’m not talking about the time that you spent rehearsing, just the time that you spent figuring out what you were going to say and how you were going to say it. Hmm, now I’ve got a question for you: how would you go about creating a speech if you had less time – like say if you only had 30 minutes?

Why The Ability To Create Speeches Quickly Is Important

Wait a minute, isn’t the ability to create a great speech more important than the ability to create a speech quickly? Isn’t that what the importance of public speaking is all about? Well, yes and no. If you have a lot of time to create a speech, then I would agree that taking the time to craft a speech that will motivate your audience is time well spent. However, you don’t always have the time that you’ll need.

All too often in the real world where we all live, what happens is that somebody drops into your life and asks to you give a speech. You agree, and then you remember to ask them when the presentation is going to happen. Hopefully it’s sometime in the distant future. However, there are those cases where the person then turns to you and says “It’s in 30 minutes, but that’s ok because you already know this stuff, right?” Oh, oh.

These situations do occur and as public speakers we need to know how to deal with them. I am more than willing to agree that it is completely unfair to expect anyone to be able to pull together a speech that quickly; however, it happens and so you need to learn to get over it and get to work!

How To Create A Speech Quickly

So there you are, you are on the hook to crank out a speech in way too little time. What’s a public speaker to do? I’ve got some good news for you, there are four steps to this process that can help you to successfully accomplish a passable speech in the time that you’ve been allocated. Here they are:

  1. Determine Your Main Point: Every presentation has a main point. There is a reason that you’ve been asked to stand up in front of this audience and give a speech – what is it? When you’re under the gun and quickly pulling together a speech, you need to be able to very clearly state exactly what this main point is. Nail this down and the rest of your speech creation will flow from it.
  2. Create An Outline: I’m not sure if you normally create an outline when you are building a speech, but when you have very little time to work with then this is a necessary first step. You may already have 100 ideas about what you might say running through your panicked head; however, if you don’t come up with a way to get your thoughts organized then it’s all going to tumble out of you in a big mess. Create an outline, use your outline.
  3. Include Personal Stories: The last thing that you want your audience to know is that the speech that you are delivering to them was created just minutes ago. What this means for you is that you are going to have to find a way to connect with your audience in a way that cold, hard facts just won’t do. Although you are moving fast in creating your speech, slow down for just a moment or two and identify spots where you can drop in a personal story. This will create an emotional appeal that will make you speech memorable.
  4. Read Between The Lines: When it’s showtime, you are going to have to be able to take the outline and the brief notes that you’ve scribbled down and turn them into a complete speech. This means that you are going to have to master the art of reading between the lines and using your notes as a jumping off point for what you really want to say. One final note of caution: you’re going to have to watch your time – when you don’t have time to practice a speech, you may speak for too long!

What All Of This Means For You

Public speakers like to do the best job possible every time we give a speech. What this means is that we carefully take the time required to craft a speech that will connect with our audience, we practice it until we have it down cold, and then go out there and knock them dead. That’s how we can share the benefits of public speaking with our audience. Unfortunately, this all falls apart when we’re given very little time to create a speech before we have to deliver it!

When we are forced to come up with a speech in very little time, we need to follow the following 4-step quick speech creation process. First we need to identify our main point, then we need to create an outline, we then need to add personal stories, and finally we need to read between the lines when we are delivering the story.

One of the reasons that most of us are willing to get up in front of a group of people and deliver a speech in the first place is because it provides us with a thrill – almost like riding a roller coaster. Being placed in a situation where we have limited time to create the speech that we need to deliver boosts the pressure of giving a speech even more. Follow the 4 steps that we’ve discussed and you’ll be ready the next time you are asked to do the impossible!

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

Question For You: In the limited time that you have, do you think that you should focus on writing the speech or also try to practice it?

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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

As speakers we all know that just before we get ready to stand before an audience we can become very nervous. This just seems to be a part of life despite the importance of public speaking. However, here’s the big question – why do we become so nervous all of the time and what can we do about it?