So you want to deliver a compelling speech. One that will awe your audience. (Did that rhyme?). Well, as someone that has delivered thousands of speeches to audiences as big as 5,000 to as small as 5 cute stuff animals + a golden retriever sitting on my bed (hey – don’t judge, they payed attention), I wanted to give you some quick tips on how to WIN THE STAGE.
Before we talk about how you give your speech, we first need to talk about the content of your speech. Think about these quick questions:
What is it that you want them to remember from your speech 1 week from now.
Why is this so important?
What is the story / journey you want to take them on.
Now, these questions don’t have to be answered directly in your speech. For example, you don’t have to say – “This is why this kindness is so important. . . “ You want to have these questions & answers naturally placed inside your speech. “Kindness gives people hope that our world can be made a better place.” (See the difference).
You want to have those questions answered, then start crafting your message.
THE EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER
When ever I give a speech I think of it as an emotional roller coaster that I get to take people on. To start, its funny, light hearted. I tell jokes, make people laugh and also introduce myself. Then, I get a little bit more serious. For older audiences, it gets deep – emotional. Then I lift them back up. Then down again, back up even higher – and I always end on a high-note. If you think about it, every good movie does the same thing. Highs lows + happy ending. This can also be called a plot-line.
What is the roller coaster of your speech?. What is going to get them laughing, excited, emotional, inspired.
QUICK TIP: Not all speeches need every element.
Some speeches are not meant to be funny. Some are not meant to be serious. Some are more light hearted. For those entering the Kindness Speech Contest – you’ve only got 2 minutes. So naturally, you can’t fit all the elements in. (Recommend don’t worry to much about the ice-breaker or jokes, just get into the good stuff).
READ YOUR SPEECH OUT LOUD.
The way that you write and the way you talk, are kinda different. So when you write your speech and read it silently, it may sound great. Then when you read it aloud, it comes off to ‘scripted’. Try to write your speech the same way you would talk. This will not only help you remember it, but will also help it sound more natural.
For example, when you read the ‘script’ of my middle school speech. It does not read:
“Hello Everyone, my name is Brian and I am excited to be here”
It actually reads, “Whats upppppp everybody!!!! DUDE!!!!! I’m sooo excited to be here at your school.!!!!!!”
When memorizing my speech I first read the first line out loud 3 times. Then I add-on one sentence and read those 2 sentences 3 times. (Trying not to look at the paper). Then I add an additional sentence. I keep repeating this step until I get to an entire paragraph. Once that paragraph is memorized, I do the same process for the next paragraph. Once the 2nd paragraph is memorized I attempt to do both paragraphs together without looking down. . . keep repeating this step until all of them are done
Slow down. Speak Up. Make eye contact. Relax. Smile. Annunciate. Don’t walk around so much.
Those are the most common critiques I give to speakers. The first thing you have to remember is to HAVE FUN. If your smiling, your audience will be smiling. If you speak to fast, everyone will focus on trying to listen, versus absorbing your words. Now, this DOES NOT happen right away. You’ll need to practice your speech several times before it feels comfortable. (Hence my audience of stuff animals, they helped me practice . . . although, they never give me a round of applause)
FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT.
If you make a mistake on your lines, forget a paragraph guess what. . . no body knows. So just keep going, brush over it. Don’t dwell on it.
RECORDING YOUR SPEECH.
This one is tough. A lot of people will automatically stop and re-start every time they make a mistake. DO NOT STOP & RESTART. Even if you mess up, go all the way to the end. Then reshoot. . . if you keep stopping, your brain will always automatically tell you to stop every time you make the slightest mistake, even when the person behind the camera says, “Why’d you stop, that was awesome!!”.
So endure through the mistakes and deliver till the end.
This is by far the most important. You have to have fun. Smile. Be grateful for the opportunity to share your words with others. To inspire. You never know the impact your words can have on another persons life – this is something to be happy about. The chance to truly inspire someone. . . and that’s fun!
ROCK YOUR SPEECH – and good luck to all our contestants in the 2018 National kindness speech contest.
Be Brave. Be Kind. . . and change the world!
WRITTEN BY BRIAN WILLIAMS
Brian is considered one of the Nations Top Youth Speakers and is the founder of Think Kindness. He has spoken to over 600,000 students across the country, documented over 1.5 million acts of kindness, traveled to Africa 14 times, is the author of KINDNESS NINJA and is the executive producer of the Inspire Hope Film. Brian currently travels the country inspiring kindness in schools across America.