Steve Jobs’ at Stanford University has been viewed about 8 million times on YouTube. Eleven years after he delivered it, it is still a massive internet hit. The speech is as powerful for its message–stay hungry, stay foolish–as it is for its structure and delivery. “Today I want to tell you three stories from my life,” says Jobs. “That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.” And with that, viewers (and readers) are hooked.
As students prepare their entries for the Toastmasters School Competition, here is a little advice to help you on your way.
The best speeches include a clear, relevant message and a few great stories to illustrate it. Forget fancy complicated presentations and loads of data. Instead, keep your speech simple, with a clear beginning, middle and end. Focus on one theme, and eliminate everything else. People don’t remember much of what they hear, so focus and keep it simple.
Use anecdotes. People struggle writing speeches when all they have to do is find a message and a few great stories to prove it. This kind of speech is also easier to deliver because you can recall a story from memory and tell it from your heart. The content has to be inspiring and memorable. It should convey emotion and have a particular point of view. If you have these elements of a good speech, your delivery is halfway there.”
Be relevant to your audience and avoid using abbreviations which your audience might not be familiar with. If you know what your speech is about–and it should be about one thing–you should have an easy time deciding on an opening. Get right into the story and let the audience know what your talk will be about.
Practice your speech beforehand. Articulate your words, regardless of your natural speaking style. Practice replacing deadening filler words like “um,” “so” and “like” with silence. When you are speaking ensure that you are loud enough to be heard by the person at the very back of the room.
Use body language that makes you appear comfortable. Stand up straight, whether you sand in the middle of the stage or stand behind a lectern. Successful public speaking is all about passion and emotion. If you’re excited, then your audience will be, too.
The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on 13 Nov at 8.00pm. Schools' Competition Wednesday 19th November. Rona Coghlan PRO. Further information visit our website at www.speakeasytoastmasters.