When it comes to leadership speaking you’ve all heard Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream.” John F. Kennedy’s speech, “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” Those are all landmark speeches that are remembered and repeated generation after generation. What about your addresses? Are they remembered and repeated? They could be. Here are some new ways to think about your speaking that can move you from someone whose speech is forgotten to a speech that is remembered.
We know that one of the biggest fears in life is public speaking. Here’s your challenge, push through that fear; speaking is fun and exciting, and the fear never returns.
You have won the battle when you are prepared for your speech, practiced, and can deliver it with confidence. But how? Some of the world’s most outstanding leaders are great speakers. Apple’s Steve Jobs was not a natural speaker, but he knew how important it was and transformed his speaking into one of the greatest speakers and communicators.
Clarity and simplicity in leadership speaking
Jobs never used complicated slides but had just one image or line of text. That made his message simple and easy to understand. It also helped him tell his story so everyone could understand it and in a way that brought cheers from his audience. Could you, as a leader, inspire your organization similarly? How could you start to do that?
Ask yourself these questions before writing your speech.
- WHAT is the one thing the audience needs to know?
One thing? Yes, just one. If I were to have a bucket of tennis balls and toss you one ball, you’d be able to catch it. If I were to throw 6 or 7 toward you, you’d probably drop them all. That’s why just ONE THING. The goal is you want the audience to remember your speech for longer than it takes them to leave the room.
- WHY do they need to know that one thing?
What is happening in their lives at the moment that is a problem? How would they recognize that this is an issue? Is it a priority or a back burner issue? Tell them why. What impact will it have on their lives?
- What do they need to do to change?
If they don’t change, what will happen? Have you got a plan you’ve used before to help them transform and make the change easier? Is the plan simple and easy to implement?
- Why do they need to change now?
If there is no urgency, people just won’t do it. Do you have a plan that gets people into action? Intellectual reasons don’t move people to action; emotional reasons do. Tell them a story that will inspire them to change right now.
- How can I help them remember it?
Could your single point from #1 be put into a single line or phrase? i.e., “I have a dream.” A phrase that could be repeated throughout the talk and one your audience can recall when the challenge arises.
How can you apply this strategy to your leadership speaking?
Information without application is a waste of your time. Try out preparing a speech immediately using the ideas shared in this article. You’ll find it will change everything.
Consider mind mapping your next talk. (See the mind map above) A great way to organize your ideas so you can communicate them easily and naturally. If you haven’t used mind mapping before, I’ve put together a guide to “Rapid Speech Development for your Next Leadership Speech.” You can download it free.