It?s 48 hours before you have to give a speech that makes a difference. You?ve sat through a hundred of these before ? and you remember maybe two of them. Here?s a sample sequence to keep yours on course so it doesn?t wind up with those lost 98.
BEGIN WITH: The non-intro intro
No one really needs to be thanked for being here today, appreciated for having you or reminded that the weather is nice. Just as a movie is more intriguing if it opens right on the action instead of the credits, get to the point as swiftly as possible.
ADD: A story and a mystery
Jump into a brief, tight narrative right away, one whose setting and events don?t quite seem to match with your subject matter. Get the audience to wonder, ?What?s this anecdote really about??
ADD: The reveal
Conclude your compelling story by relating its true meaning to the theme of your talk. The audience should think, ?Ahhhhh, I see now.?
ADD: A fact that opens their eyes
Now throw out a number, a statistic, a quick truth about your topic that will truly surprise them.
ADD: Your own surprised reaction
Become a part of the audience for just a moment by making your own jaw drop at the factoid you just put out there ? and describe how you felt when you first became aware of it. This is a good chance to introduce a little humor as you describe the feeling of being suddenly whacked over the head by an eye-opening realization.
ADD: A second story
You?ve got one narrative under your belt; now give them another one. No mystery about how it relates this time ? now that you?re all on the same page, stay on it.
ADD: An audience callout
Show you?re engaged with them by working in a member of the audience at the end of your second tale. ?I can see, sir, that you think that?s insane,? you might say, or ?Just a quick show of hands of how many people have experienced the same thing.?
ADD: Why you?re there
Time to make your central point, the one you want to leave them with. What is this speech really about? It should put a small spin on what they thought it would be ? build an unexpectedly nice roof upon your solid foundation.
ADD: A plea
Tell your audience what you want them to do when they leave their seats. Issue a call to action and a personal request. Don?t just give them information; give them a cause.
CONCLUDE WITH: A swift exit
Once you?ve hit all the points you need to, don?t leave any time for an anti-climax. Don?t reproduce your introduction or start in with the thanks. Go out on a high note and walk away.