The Power Of Adding A Song To Your Next Speech

Adding music to a speech can make it memorable
Adding music to a speech can make it memorable
Image Credit: Horia Varlan

Let me be honest with you: I cannot sing. Nope, not a note. If I started singing, you’d start to leave the room. However, just because I can’t sing does not mean that you should not be considering adding a song or two to your next speech. We generally don’t think of speaking and singing as going together, but perhaps we should.

How To Add A Song To A Speech

Considering the importance of public speaking, why should we even be thinking about adding a song to our next speech? Well Thomas Hopkins knows a bit about singing and he points out that songs by their very nature provide great content for a speech. The reason for this is because songs are relatively short (let’s not talk about “Stairway To Heaven”), they have a storytelling nature to them, and gosh darn it, their melody once in our heads is very hard to get out.

As you create your speech, if you can find a song that will go along with it, you’ll need to take a careful look at the story that the song is trying to tell. Since a song is generally quite short, your speech will be able to play the role of filling in the gaps around the speech to provide more details. Now, of course, the big question is how to work the song into your speech? If you can sing, then it’s easy: at the right point in your speech just open up and belt out the song. If, like me, singing is not in the cards, bring a recording of the song along and at the right point in time play the right part of the song.

One of the things that you need to realize about a song is that it is made up of different parts. One of the most important parts of a song is its chorus line. If you ask someone to remember a song, what they are probably going to be able to recall is the chorus line. This is because when the song writer was putting together the song, they designed the chorus line to be catchy with rhythms and melodies that will stay with you. Using a chorus line as a part of your speech no matter if you sing it or play it for your audience will catch their attention. As a bonus, the emotional impact of the song will also be added to your speech when you do this.

Creative Ways To Work Music Into A Speech

What’s interesting about making music a part of your next speech is that you don’t have to rely on songs. You and I recognize a great deal of music and a lot of it is not associated with a particular song – sometimes it’s just a soundtrack. Two that pop into my mind right off the bat is the James Bond theme and the Mission Impossible theme. As a speaker, you can use soundtracks to remind your audience of a specific time in their lives. If you use the soundtrack from a popular TV show, then everyone’s minds will go back to the point in time when that TV show used to be on.

Incorporating a soundtrack into a speech is a powerful tool. First off, not that many speakers do this and so it can be a powerful way to grab your audience’s attention. Next, the music that you play can awaken powerful nostalgia in your audience as they are transported back to the time that they last heard this particular piece of music.

There is one additional way that you can incorporate songs into your next speech. When it comes to popular songs (think of anything by the Beatles), we all know the lyrics. As you are creating the words that will make up your speech, one thing that you can do is to incorporate words from well-known songs. As you are delivering your speech, your audience will start to pick up on your unique choice of words. It may take them just a bit, but once they’ve caught on they’ll be eagerly waiting for your next words so that they can see if they can spot more of the lyrics from the songs that they love.

What All Of This Means For You

As speakers we are placed in the difficult position of having to create speeches that will both capture and hold on to our audience’s attention. It turns out that there is a tool that can help us do this that all too many of us are overlooking: songs. No, you don’t have to be a talented singer (I’m not) to use this speaking tool to realize the benefits of public speaking.

Working a song into a speech is not really all that hard to do. Songs tend to be short and tell a story – perfect for complementing your next speech. What you’ll need to do is to add more detail in your speech than the song provides. At the right point in your speech you can either sing a part of the speech or you can bring along a recording of the speech and play it for your audience. Soundtracks also provide another way to work music into your speech. The right soundtrack can produce nostalgia in your audience as they remember when they last heard this music. Finally, just the lyrics alone from a song can create powerful emotions in your audience. Work words from well-known songs into your speech and watch as your audience starts to hang on your every word waiting to hear the next set of lyrics.

If you like your speeches to be safe and risk free, then perhaps working music into your next speech is not for you. However, if you are going to be facing an important audience and you desperately need to find a way to capture their attention, then perhaps incorporating music into your speech will be that special touch that will win them over to your side. Let’s face it, everyone likes music so there’s no harm in doing this – they may end up liking your music more then they liked your speech!

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

Question For You: Do you think that you should only work one song into a speech or is it ok to use a collection of songs?

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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

I, for one, would like to have a bigger brain. However, unlike deciding that I want to have bigger muscles, I don’t think that there is a “brain gym” anywhere near to where I live. What this means is that if I want to grow and develop my mental capabilities, then I’m going to have to find a different way to go about making my brain bigger.