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One of the most frequent questions I get asked as a speaker and from my executive speaking coaching clients is what formula do I use to draft a speech. Now it may seem I am giving away the holy grail of my work but this is the simple formula I use:

1. BACKGROUND:
Topic: What is the specific area they are looking to hear about. Effective Communication? Leadership? Presentation Skills? Storytelling? Career Development?

Audience: Who am I speaking to and what are the top three things the buyer is looking for from me?
Are there any sensitive issues that I should avoid?
What background data can I/do I have on the organisation to make this more personal?

Stage: Am I sharing the stage with other speakers and if so how can I compliment them in my presentation.

2. DESIGN:

I craft my speeches using three core movements, a bit like a film or a play.

ACT ONE:
The Intro
I usually like to start with a story. Something that will emotionally engage the audience and hook them in. Something not too distant from the experiences of the intended audience.

Sometimes it may include some humour, or facts and statistics relevant to that industry, organisation or individuals in the organisation. This is a critical part for me to get right as I will win or lose most of my audience at this part. It is probably the most tested and rewritten part of any speech I draft.

ACT TWO:

Scene 1 – The Pain. I like to have a key point which set the scene for the presentation.
Often times this focuses on some kind of pain that the organisation is facing.
Change. New Leadership. Lack of Clarity. Falling market share.
I use this opportunity to build at least 3 key points to emphasise the pain and what the

Scene 2 – The Solution. The narrative arc in this section starts to look at the solutions to address this problem. The what-ifs and the tangible ways of being able to address the pain. This is focused on how problems can be solved and again will pull on data, stories and a possible reference back to the opening. Again no more than about 3 key points or solutions to the problems

Scene 3 – The Challenge. We know the pain. We know the solutions, now what are we going to do about it? What happens if solutions aren’t taken? How does one cope and what are the strategies that can realistically be put into place. This is where I want to make my audience uncomfortable. Stretched, but with a means or toolkit to be able to deal with this discomfort.

ACT THREE

Call to Action. This is about getting my audience to do take action.
Now that the core theory has been given, the final part of my speech focuses on specific language to close the deal. It’s a place where I want the audience to think OK let me leave here and take massive action.

3. PRACTICE AND REVIEW
As it says. I practice the speech, change language where necessary and review
Sometimes right up until a few hours before the final delivery.
Always keeping it fresh.

Of course the model for designing and delivering a great speech is a lot deeper than this summary. I have left out the core elements of platform skills, use of visuals, scatoma, rapport building, rhetoric, storytelling and embedded commands that will beef up the speech and bring it alive but these are my basics for drafting.

Feel free to use them or share them.
Let me know how it works for you.

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