Three Pieces Make A Whole: The Art Of Creating A Speech That Works

Every speech must contain three parts that work together
Every speech must contain three parts that work together
Image Credit: Martin LaBar

When we are asked to give a speech, generally speaking our hearts start to beat just a little bit faster. We’re excited about being asked to share information that we know, and yet at the same time we dread the effort that is going to go into getting ready to give that speech because we understand the importance of public speaking. However, perhaps if we better understood what it takes to create a complete speech we would not have this feeling of dread.

The Three Parts To Every Speech

When we are creating a speech, we tend to get caught up in the process. This is not a good thing. We know why we’ve been asked to give a speech. With a little luck we also know our stuff – we know what we’ll be talking about. However, what we tend to forget is that there is a very good chance that our audience will have no idea why we are standing on that stage. With a little luck, you will have received a great introduction for your speech by someone else. However, all too often this person simply stands there and says “let’s welcome our next speaker”.

What all of this means for you is that when you are creating your speech, you are going to have to start things out with a great introduction. Not only will you be introducing the topic of your speech, but you’ll also be introducing yourself. You can’t just start your speech by telling your audience why they should believe what you are going to be telling them. Instead, you need to build up to it. They need the background story of how you came to know what you’ll be telling them. This should not take that long to do, but it is a critical part of your speech in order to bring your audience up to speed.

Once you have them on board, you then need to transition to the body of your speech. This is where the majority of what you want to tell them will be delivered. I can tell you that this is where I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past. What we need to remember here is that we are giving a speech. We’re not writing a report. This means that we don’t need to crush our audience with too much information. Instead, what we need to do is to pick and choose from the information that we could share with them to identify what parts would create a coherent story that they’ll be able to follow. Every speech has a goal: the information that you share in the body of your speech should only be information that will lead you to that goal.

Finally, we come to the conclusion of your speech. I sorta hate to tell you this, but this is the most important part of your speech. Let’s face it, with today’s distracted audiences who have very short attention spans, they are not going to be able to remember the details of everything that you have shared with them during your speech. What this means is that you’ve got to make the last words out of your mouth really count for something. The conclusion of your speech needs to be very carefully crafted to drive your main point home. You want to provide your audience with phrases and images that they will remember long after your speech is done.

How The Parts Work Together

Just having the three parts of a speech that you need is not enough to be able to deliver a speech that people are going to want to hear. Now comes the really challenging part: you are going to have to find ways to get your three parts to work together. What you don’t want to do is to leave your audience feeling that your speech was disjointed or that it appeared to fit together badly.

How you enter your introduction can lay the groundwork for how the rest of your speech goes. What you are going to have to do is to capture your audience’s attention and make them want to hear the rest of what you have to say. There are a number of different ways to go about doing this, but one of the most common is to start things off by asking your audience a question. Once you’ve launched into your introduction, it’s going to be time to start to prepare your audience for the body of your speech.

The body of your speech is where the real “meat” of your speech is located. Because you are going to be sharing a lot of information with them, you need to prepare them for what they are going to be hearing. By doing this you’ll allow them to have an understanding of what you’ll be saying before you say it. A good way to accomplish this is one you’ve wrapped up your introduction, start the body of your speech out by providing your audience with an outline of what you’ll be covering in the body of your speech. This prepares them for what will follow.

The conclusion of your speech is the final part and is often the shortest part of the entire process. However, because this is the part that your audience has the highest probability of remembering, you need to proceed carefully. What you are going to want to do is to pick out the key points that you made in the body of your speech and then show how they lead to the conclusion that you want your audience to walk away with. This is how you end your speech. If done well, your audience will “get your point” and that’s what they’ll be talking about when you are done.

What All Of This Means For You

Being asked to give a speech is a real honor. However, with that honor comes a great deal of responsibility. We now have to create a speech that is going to both capture and hold our audience’s attention so that we can provide them with the benefits of public speaking. In order to do that, we’re going to have to craft a speech that will allow us to communicate what we’ve been asked to speak on while at the same time getting our audience to keep listening to us.

This process starts with the creating of a great introduction for your speech. Since you can’t rely on others to introduce you correctly, you’ll need to make sure that the start of your speech clearly states what you’ll be talking about and who you are. The body of your speech is where you get to share the most important parts of your information. Be careful to not overdo it – just share enough to get your point across. Finally, you’ll reach your conclusion. This is where you need to pick your words carefully. You’ll want to touch on key points that you made in the body of your speech but you need to lead up to a clear conclusion.

Crafting a speech that works is not impossible. It does take time and effort and you need to know what you are doing. Create the three key parts of your next speech and then very carefully fit them together. The final product will be a speech that will allow you to communicate your information and ensure that your audience will remember what you told them.

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

Question For You: How much time do you think that your introduction should take?

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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

Welcome to the digital age! I’m pretty sure that by now just about all of us have one of those fancy smartphones in our pocket or purse. The world around us has definably changed and as speakers, we need to change with it. When I’m working with speakers who are just starting out, I’m always surprised when I learn that they think that they can exist in just one world and be successful. It turns out that as speakers because of the importance of public speaking we now need to find ways to live in both the real world and the electronic world.