What is Your Speech Objective?

Extra post this week! Today I give you a few suggestions on how to define the 4 pillars that allow you to create a powerful speech.

Thursday you will receive the 3rd and final post of “How to prepare a winning TED-style talk”.

Thank you to all the speakers who decided to leave their testimonials, which you can find on the Talk for Impact website.

Now let’s dive into deciding your speech objective!

So you decided you want to give a talk. It’s going to be the talk of your life. Or maybe just another talk in your public speaking career. Either case you want to make it impactful,  because you want to move people to action. You certainly have an idea in mind about what you want to say. Or maybe you need to come up with one?

You need to start from a clear idea of what you want to say. What is going to be your message? What is that you want to convey to the audience? It’s not a trivial matter. It’s actually the foundation to craft an impactful talk.

Oftentimes my speakers started from a generic idea of what they wanted to say, that included several aspects around a core theme. That might be you as well. You might have a full list of things that you want to tell the audience.

Let’s look at the list of messages you want to convey

Let me ask you. Look at that list… Really? All of that? Sure it’s your opportunity to tell all the things you wanted to say, and your audience is there waiting to hear you. It feels like an excellent occasion to express all of your ideas so that the audience will hear all of them. However its not a great idea. People tend to retain just one or two core messages, more than that and they get confused. Their brains refuse collaborate and do the work of assembling all that info into a cohesive story.

Well, that is your task! I bet that behind all those inputs that you want to convey, there is a common thread. I’d bet that it’s something to do with your mission. All the stuff that you want to tell the audience is really just aspects of the same story. Of the same core message.

What is this core message? Make it crystal clear to yourself what is the message that you want to convey to the audience. Not only all the talk writing will become easier. Also your impact on the audience will be exponentially greater.

I hear you, and all the stuff that I won’t be able to say? That’s important as well, you want to tell me. It certainly is, however you will have only a few minutes, 15 at most, to get them engaged. You don’t want to spend that time to get them confused instead.

So let’s make sure the core message is crystal clear.

Why, what’s the driver for you

First things first. What is your mission? What is the main driver that guides you? What do you want to achieve? I’m sure you have it clear in your mind and you live by it in your organisation or activity. Let me ask you a deeper question. Why do you do it? Why did you choose this mission for yourself? What is really driving you?

Some speakers I worked with had a very clear mission and knew perfectly well why they were doing it. Others had a mission, but by digging deeper into the why, they managed to clarify their mission even further.

As a side story, this applies also to me. I have been doing several different things in my life, often with a clear mission in mind. However it took me years to realise that the common thread was not a particular industry - for me these were maritime and, separately, biotech - nor a particular activity - for me startups and innovation - as much as it has always been about unleashing people’s potential. I always knew I loved that but I never realised that was my core mission, to multiply people’s impact on this planet. Only when I realised this, the mission of Talk for Impact became clear.

So ask yourself, what is my “why?” What drives me with inexhaustible energy?

With a clear why, you clarify your message and your talk becomes powerful, because people will feel that what you say is not just a nicely crafted story, but a powerful message coming from deep within yourself, from your inner self.

With a clear why you can be much more specific about what you want to convey with the talk you ate preparing. Don’t focus yet on exactly what you want to say, it will come later. For now make sure you clarify the single most important core message of your talk.

Who is your audience

Before you progress and decide the content, there is another very important aspect to consider. That is your audience. Who are you addressing? And obviously what do you want to give them? What do you want them to do as a result of your talk?

“I don’t expect anything back from the audience, I just want to share my message with them.” I don’t buy it. Of course you want something from them. As a minimum you would want them to listen. You would like them to think about what you tell them. And maybe take some sort of action. Without these objectives, your talk would become a mere act of self indulgence, making you feel better for sharing your ideas, yet not expecting these ideas to have an impact on people.

Who is your audience should be pretty clear, it’s the people you are going to address. Let’s see the other component.

What is your talk’s take-home and the single action you expect

When deciding what is your talk’s theme, it’s very helpful to clarify what is going to be the take-home for the audience, that is, what do you want to stick with them. It can’t be a million things, as we mentioned earlier you can’t convey all the things you would like and you need to stick to one main message that they take home. The TED tagline is “ideas worth spreading” so which is the single idea that you want to stick with them? What do you want them to remember of your talk and your message? It is just one idea that you will spend 10 or 15 minutes elaborating and planting in their mind.

And what do you want them to do as a result of your talk. What sticks with them and what they do as a result. That is fundamental to clarify to achieve an effective talk.

So choose carefully. For this single idea and ensuing action you are spending all the energy creating this talk. Think beyond the talk into your mission. What is that you want to achieve with your mission? And what is the role of this talk to this audience in that mission? Do you want to attract more people to follow your mission, or do you want them to become active contributors, or donors, or what?

Here it is. A few ideas to ponder when you start preparing a speech. Why you do it, what is your main message, who are you addressing and what do you expect them to do as a result. These are the 4 pillars of a great talk. Make sure you have these very clear in mind before you start writing your first draft.

Keep doing your incredible work as Changemakers and Impact Leaders. Talk for Impact, and move audiences to action!

That’s all for now, thank you for reading.

Talk for Impact is a platform for Impact Leaders and Changemakers, with a newsletter packed full of suggestions and other resources on how to deliver great talks that move audiences to action. You can share and subscribe to the newsletter and podcast below. And if you feel ready to work one-to-one with me reach out for a 20' discovery chat with me (in English, Spanish or Italian.)

Talk for Impact is a platform for Impact Leaders and Changemakers, with a newsletter packed full of suggestions and other resources on how to deliver great talks that move audiences to action.

And if you feel ready to work one-to-one with me reach out for a 20' discovery chat with me (in English, Spanish or Italian.)