Ten Tips for Writing and Delivering Very Brief Speeches - "Be Good,
Be Brief, and Be Seated"
Did you ever notice that it often
takes far longer to write a shorter speech than a longer one? That's
because some people tell almost everything they know in a long one,
and they also fail to highlight what's important for the audience.
Short speech writing and giving is an art. This article tells you
how to craft the short speech and how to deliver it for maximum
Top Ten Tips for Writing and Delivering Very
"Be Good, Be Brief, and Be Seated"
Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California
You've probably heard the well-known old joke
about letter writing.
"This is a very long letter because I did not have time to write
a short one."
It exactly applies to when you are giving a short talk.
In the speech game, if you don't take the time to craft a tight,
focused presentation before you deliver a short talk, you will lose
your audience. You may also lose your reputation.
For any length speech you have to craft the talk well, practice
it well and deliver it well. This is true for ANY length presentation,
but unfortunately, speakers often treat a brief talk as inconsequential.
"This is only a five-minute talk, so I'll just wing it. No need
to practice such a short speech." they think. This mind set can
lead to disaster. Smart speakers know better. They treat ALL talks
Let's take a look at the ten most critical features of crafting
and delivering short speeches.
1. The writing for shorter speeches has to be better than for long
ones. You have less time to get your critical message across.
2. You must make sure the audience gets the central core theme of
your message...and right away.
3. You have no luxury of "warming up" your audience as you sometimes
can do in a longer talk or seminar. You must "make the first impression
4. You have no time for wandering around or chaff. Go off on a tangent
and in a flash your time will be up and you will be sitting down...with
your audience wondering what in the world you just said.
5. If you are disorganized, you will trail past your stop time,
and no one likes that. Not the audience, the promoter, or the other
speakers to follow you.
6. So you don't anonymously blend in with all the other speakers
that will come before and after you, you have to create something
different that will help you stand out and be memorable.
7. The logical flow of your talk must be tighter than in a longer
talk, or your audience will perceive you simply as a 5 minute blatherer.
8. Your talk must be better memorized, because you'll have no time
to develop it as you go, or to use audience interaction or other
speech devices to help you remember your material.
9. You have to "play off of" the previous speaker so you get the
audience's attention quickly. If your style is the same as what
they just heard, they may easily tune you out.
10. You have to "make the ask", just as in any other length speech.
Some wise person said, "There is only one purpose in giving a speech,
and that is to get the audience to think differently, feel differently
or act differently." Know how you want the audience to change as
a result of your time on the platform, and you will very likely
hit the mark with them.
BONUS TIP: Many speakers want to "tell everything they know"
about a subject. In a day long seminar, this may be somewhat possible.
Never in a speech of an hour length. In a speech shorter than that,
it's a disaster. You will never get going and your audience will
wonder what just happened. Instead, keep your message to the point,
on target and laser-focused.
For every 15 minutes of platform time, the smart, dedicated speaker
has spent an hour in development, rehearsal and preparation. It
makes a difference. As a famous violinist said, "When I do not practice
for three days, my audience can tell. When I do not practice for
two days, my orchestra can tell. When I do not practice for one
day, I can tell". So it goes with speech making. You want your audience
to applaud you, think well of you and act on your message. Doing
all that takes some doing on your part.
To learn more about how presentation coaching can help you become
a better, more confident speaker, visit Bill Cole, MS, MA, the Mental
Game Coach at www.mentalgamecoach.com/Services/PresentationCoaching.html.
Copyright © 2005-2012
Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority
on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and
CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps
organizations and professionals achieve more success in business,
life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International
Mental Game Coaching Association (www.mentalgamecoaching.com),
an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development,
professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He
is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school
alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author
and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league
pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For
a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments
visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.
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