How to write and deliver a speech in 10 minutes

Okay so let’s say you’re asked to say a few words at your company’s annual meeting or your best friend’s wedding or your Toastmaster meeting.

The only problem is you forgot about it. (Sorry to tell you kids but this happens a lot when you get older. I carry a tape recorder around somedays.)

So rather than sneak out the door, you decide you can do this!

Here’s what I’ve done in the past:

  1. Write out the first line or two that tells the audience what you’re going to say;
  2. Write the topic line for two or three stories that illustrate your point;
  3. Write out your closing so you’re sure you hit it (If I’m going to screw anything up, it will be the big closing line);
  4. Walk confidently to the lectern, shake the presenter’s hand and put a BIG smile on your face;
  5. Read the first line, tell your stories, read your closing line (if necessary) and receive the applause.
What I don’t do regardless of what happens:
  1. I never apologize for anything or say I’m sorry:
  2. I never let anything distract me. (Once had the lights fail during a major talk at a conference. The mic still worked so I said: “Well I’ve never had this effect before.” Got a big laugh and lots of sympathy);
  3. If I forget where I am, I insert a dramatic pause (It’s sure dramatic to me.);
  4. If I really forget everything I stall by saying” “The next thing I say will be the most important part of my speech”*
  5. After the speech, I never admit to anything.
Do you have any tips for new (or more seasoned) members that you care to share on the blog?
* I’ve actually done this during a speech. Totally lost my train of thought and was in front of the lectern without my notes (which probably wouldn’t have helped me anyway) and stood there smiling like a mad man at the audience whose members kept leaning in to hear whatever gem it was I was going to impart. After what seemed like an eternity I figured out what to say and said it with great emphasis. The audience was enthralled. Marion was laughing her head off at the back of the room as she knows this is one of my ways of getting out of a bad situation.

 

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2 responses to “How to write and deliver a speech in 10 minutes

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog Peter and hope I can remember some of this when I need it the most! cheers, Yash

  2. Great tips, Peter, as always!
    I especially like “The next thing I say will be the most important part of my speech;” I might want to borrow this line some day.

    But seriously; Although I have been a TM for 1 1/2 years, I still get the jiggers when marching to the lecturn. It’s nerve-racking to stand in front of a crowd, no matter how small or large, and deliver a speech.

    I am one to have total brain freeze. What were my first lines? There is no harm in reading the first lines, until the “flow” starts.

    Nobody knows what the original wording of any speech is; important is to be able to bridge the brain freezes; I/m working on that.

    Thanks,
    Beatrice