How should you begin your speech or presentation? How about asking a question and then telling a story? What do you think is the most important part of any speech or presentation?
President Abraham Lincoln was known as an eloquent and masterful speaker. During the Civil War, President Lincoln would attend Wednesday night prayer services at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church not far from the White House with a companion. Reverend Dr. Phineas Gurley, the preacher, invited President Lincoln “to sit in his study with the door open” to hear the sermon assuring the President’s privacy.
When the service was over and President Lincoln and his companion were walking ” back to the White House” his companion asked, “What did you think of tonight’s sermon?”
President Lincoln replied, “Well, it was brilliantly conceived, biblical, relevant, and well presented.”
“So it was a great sermon?”
President Lincoln, “No, it failed. It failed because Dr. Gurley did not ask us to do something great.”
President Lincoln was saying every speech should have a “Call to Action” for the audience to do something. It is not enough for an audience to be inspired. The audience must be motivated to take action. President Lincoln felt the most important part of any speech was for the audience to be motivated to take action after having heard the speech.
Bill Gove, “the legendary father of professional speaking” said, “Your audience will remember your stories long after they forget the content of your speech. Tell a story and make a point… and then tell them another story and make another point.”
The true story of President Lincoln attending prayer services on Wednesday night is a story all of us will remember and his reminder that every speech should have a call to action is something we will not forget. It follows Bill Gove’s important speaking tip “tell a story and make a point.”
The words you choose for your speech must be spoken with passion, conviction, enthusiasm, and clarity. We will never forget the following words of Prime Minister Winston Churchill: “Never, never, never, never give up.”
He spoke these words during the darkest days of WWII while visiting the Harrow School. By choosing the right words he rallied the British people around him to fight against the enemy that wished to take over Great Britain. He empowered his countrymen and women to take action and fight to protect their country.
Patrick Henry said the following words 237 years ago: “Give me liberty or give me death.” He spoke these words with clarity and conviction and these words motivated his audience to take action.
President Ronald Reagan said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”. By choosing the right words President Regan motivated his audience to take action.
So, what are the 5 key ingredients to creating a memorable speech or presentation?
1) Speak with passion, conviction, enthusiasm, and clarity
2) Inspire your audience by telling true stories.
3) Choose the right words.
4) As Bill Gove said, “Make your point after telling a story”.
5) At the end of your speech have a “Call to Action”. Remember what President Abraham Lincoln said, “Dr. Gurley did not ask us to do something great.”
By remembering to use these 5 key ingredients in your speech or presentation you will write a masterpiece and your words will inspire others to take action.
Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an Amazon.com Best Selling Author, sought after speaker, business owner, teacher, researcher, and concert artist. She helps businesses and organizations “Tune Up their Businesses”. Her innovative observations show you the blue prints necessary to improve and keep your businesses successful. She writes a monthly newsletter “Madeline’s Monthly Article & Musical Tips” and a monthly radio show “Madeline’s One Minute Musical Radio Show”. She has just published her new book “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget”. Her book is available at Amazon.com on Kindle or as a physical book.
If you need a speaker contact Madeline at: firstname.lastname@example.org