A winning speech can prick the emotions, bring people together, provide much-needed reassurance, or profoundly affect individuals’ beliefs. The best speeches have even changed the course of history. Therefore, the power associated with public speaking should never, ever be underestimated and this knowledge can place a heavy dose of pressure on the shoulders of a speechwriter.
Tips on Writing a Winning Speech
- Begin well
The winning speech began with “Picture this – I’m standing in front of 300 students”.
Another started “put your hand up if you are a good looking person”.
“Aren’t children amazing” was how another got our attention.
Every speech began with a strong statement, delivered confidently, therefore, that intrigued or amused and made us eager to hear more.
- Involve the audience with a question
From “what legacies have the words of others left with you?” to
“did you ever find yourself on the wrong road and had to turn back?”
Every one of the nine speeches included at least one rhetorical question that engaged the audience and made us think or laugh.
- Make your audience laugh
There is nothing like laughter to warm an audience to you, we all love to be amused.
One of the Irish contestants told us about his experiences as a monk and recalled “for dinner, there were two choices, take it or leave it”.
So the voluptuous woman who delivered the winning speech told us about the day her corset gradually came undone with the words “everything both literally and physically went pear-shaped”.
You see, you’re laughing, and you haven’t even heard the whole speech.
- Include emotional variety
One particularly effective strategy that almost all of the speakers employed was to vary the emotional tone of the speech. Some started with something that made us laugh but skilfully transitioned into a poignant story. Others switched between funny and moving throughout the speech. And what does this do for an audience? It keeps our attention, makes us feel – and we remember feelings more than words – and gives a speech emotional color.
For example, a big guy with a booming voice made us laugh by holding up a tub of butter, a DVD, and a bra and asked what these 3 objects had in common, revealing that they were all items he had found in his oven – because his darling wife has dementia.
The funny story about the corset led to “I learned that everything has a breaking point” and the story beautifully unfolded from there.
- Tell a personal story
This is the ingredient that was present in every one of the nine speeches.
Every speaker talked about something that had affected their life, usually a transformational story, but they then made that story relevant to their audience through a call to action, a moral lesson, or by directly relating it to Toastmasters.
- Have an inspiring message
A contest-winning speech delivers a strong message. From ‘Don’t give up on your dream’ to ‘its ok, everyone doubts themselves at times’ – all nine speeches contained one clear, inspiring message.
Blended together, these six ingredients can create a powerful speech. Also, it can have an impact need to be mixed with the skills we learn on our Competent Communicator journeys such as a clear structure, confident delivery, vocal variety, eye contact, and physicality.
I hope that’s been a helpful, if whistle-stop, guide to what I saw and heard at the International Speech Contest. Whether you’re hoping to enter a competition or just add some flavor to your next speech. How might you be able to use something that you’ve heard tonight to take your speaking to the next level?
- Final Thoughts
I want to leave you with this. As I sat there listening to those nine fantastic speeches, it occurred to me what great skill and potential we have in this club. For that, we should all be very proud. Whatever your goal, I encourage you to take a step onto the next rung of your speaking ladder and to use the incredible support within this club to help you get there.
The more you practice, the better your delivery will be. And isn’t that the goal? You want a smooth delivery and a clear message that the audience will absorb. The only way to achieve that goal is to practice until you are completely comfortable. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to give your audience a great speech. In case you need help on writing a winning speech, visit our graduateassignmentshelp.com for more assistance.