You are attending a business or association meeting, when out of the blue, the meeting chair asks you to say a few words. How do you get through this? Follow this sure-fire process to write your speech in five minutes or less.
Decide on the message that you want to give to this group. Do you what to congratulate them on their accomplishments, advise on the road ahead or sell them a new direction. Pick one message. Anything more is counter productive.
Start drafting an outline on a sheet of paper. List these headings: Main Message, Opening, Supporting Points, and Close.
Write your main message in one sentence and in plain language. e.g. 'For the company to survive we must double our sales revenue.' Write this first because everything else you say must support this message. If it doesn't support it will only detract.
Think about your main message and write your closing statement - because that is where you want to end. Your closing statement might be a call to action - telling people exactly what you want them to do; e.g. buy this product, smile at the customer, donate money to the cause. This type of call to action is best made with the sentence - 'If you want…(desired results)…. then do…..(call to action).'
If your message is an inspirational one you might end with a quotation: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"
If you are soliciting volunteers try, "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."
If you do not remember who said it or you get the words wrong - just say you are paraphrasing.
Once you have your have your close, develop the supporting points that form the body. List five points that support your message. After you have five, examine them and pick the best three. Use statistics or an anecdote to illustrate each point. Make the anecdote funny or reach the audience in a personal way. Your audience needs this to absorb, understand and remember each of your points.
Finally, work on your opening. Use just a few sentences to grab their attention - with a challenge, question, bold fact, analogy or quotation. One technique, which ties everything together, is to open and close with the same statement. Let people know where you stand on this issue and what your message is. Never assume that they will figure it out for themselves.
Review your draft and make adjustments. You might want to change the order of your three points. Rewrite your notes on an index card or paper of equivalent size but just write the key words - in large print.
Ready? As they are introducing you, take a deep breath, look confident, smile and walk to centre stage. Wait for everyone's attention, pause a moment to survey the audience - acknowledge their presence, collect your thoughts and go… "You have nothing to fear but fear itself".
PS: Always finish before your allotted time is up. They'll love you for it.
© George Torok specializes in helping people present themselves with impact. He delivers keynote speeches and practical training programs. He works with executives and professionals to help them present with impact. You can arrange for George to work with you by calling 905-335-1997. For more information visit www.SpeechCoachforExecutives.com
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