What Makes Up A Good Speech?

Good speeches have a good structure
Good speeches have a good structure
Image Credit: I am just Dawn Marie

Every time that we give a speech, we want to find a way to both grab and hold on to our audience’s attention. In order to successfully do this, we need to be able to create a speech that has a good structure. Our speech has to capture our audience’s attention from the start and then hold on to it throughout the speech. If we want to be able to do this, then we’re going to have to learn how to build a good speech.

The Construction Of A Good Speech

Just about every speech that we give is very much the same. Yes, the topics, the quality of research, the tone of voice, content, delivery, power, humor and passion of any given speech will vary depending on who is giving the speech. This is just like how personalities and physical features vary from person to person. However, the structure of any given speech should always be similar, just like the skeletal design is similar among individuals. When we are creating a new speech, we need to remember that there are five essential elements that make up the skeleton of a great speech: a goal, a power statement, main points, an introduction, and a conclusion.

The goal of any speech that we give is one of the most important components. Speakers are often most resistant to this step. And yet, it is the most powerful organizational tool we can use. Understand that a goal is never stated in your speech, but it can be your guide to organizing a clear and meaningful message. You need to think of the goal as the border of a puzzle: once you have assembled all the straight-edged pieces into a frame, all the remaining weird-shaped pieces seem to fall into place. In a speech, a goal is as essential for a monthly status report meeting as it is for a high-stakes sales campaign. Every goal has four essential elements: it should be one complete sentence, it should be specific, it should have only one idea, and it should contain purposeful language.

Of all the sentences in your next speech, the power statement is the most important sentence because it previews what you will be telling your audience. Vocally outlining what you are will be saying helps the audience manage the verbal message that you will be delivering to them. The power statement is a direct result of the goal that you created for your speech; it is the fulcrum of your message to your audience. To formulate an effective power statement, you will have to do some brainstorming. The power statement should a single complete sentence that highlights the three or four things you want to say about a given topic. You need to allow your speech goal to guide you in the creation of the power statement. Say your goal out loud, and then let your power statement flow from that. Your power statement should be concise; you just want to establish the major headings of your speech so the audience knows what is coming. The beauty of assembling a speech goal and then a power statement is that once you have accomplished this, you’ve will have established your speech’s main points.

In any speech that you create, the main points will make up the bulk of your speech. Your power statement has already told the audience what your speech will be about. Because of this, your main points should be consistent with your power statement and be said in the same order. Your audience now has expectations about what you will say. Whatever details you feel are appropriate to add beneath each main point will make your speech unique and suitable for the occasion.

Every speech starts with an introduction. Many speakers believe that constructing an introduction is the first step to planning a speech, because it is the first thing that a speaker will say. But formulating an introduction before formulating the message can be a grave mistake. Realize that your introduction has the power to grab the audience’s attention. Knowing what the rest of your speech is about can lend great inspiration to this phase of your speech planning. Knowing your full message also helps you to assemble an introduction that is thematic and makes sense with what you will say in the body. Every introduction that you create should: grab the audience’s attention, set a tone, establish credibility (Why should the audience listen to or believe you?), and lead into your content. (Your power statement should be the last sentence of your introduction.)

The conclusion of your speech comes at the end. A conclusion should always be satisfying and obvious. Your audience should know when the speech is ending and, if applicable, when they should applaud. Nothing can be more uncomfortable for an audience member than missing an applause cue. Your conclusion should briefly reiterate what you just said and be circular to your introduction.

What All Of This Means For You

A deliberate and guiding speech goal, a controlling power statement, consistent main points, an attention-grabbing introduction and a satisfying conclusion are the five most essential structural elements of any good speech that you create. A well-organized speech helps your audience follow your message and allows them to walk away remembering the key points.

Using this technique, speakers can learn how to organize their thoughts using this simple format. Creating a speech in this manner is similar to the structural elements every building must have in order to stand. Whether the metaphor is a skyscraper or the human body, a good speech requires a specific organizational format. In order for your next speech to stand on its own, it’s going to have to have bones.

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

Question For You: Do you think that you should write your speech’s conclusion at the end of the speech creation process?

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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 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!

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