How To Structure Any Speech

One of the things I’ve been complemented with over my career, is I seem to have a knack for making the complicated simple or easier to understand. In that light I would like to share something many of you can use in either your everyday work environment or, if you’re ever in need to give that dreaded “speech” in front any group. (Quite possibly where your Mother might be in the audience also.)

Many of you will panic on what to say or how to say it and blah, blah, blah. Don’t worry, and what ever you do, don’t go buy the latest 12 new titles on “Speech giving 101.” Trust me when I say most of them will do you more harm than good.

First things first. Giving a speech looks easy however, it can be excruciatingly trying on one’s psyche or, play on your fears of anxiety if you let it. (Just do a search on the famous movie director Michael Bay to see this in real-time.)

The real reason for this I believe is too much reliance on one’s notes or, trying to read verbatim lengthy pages whether on paper or a teleprompter. Once you lose your place (and depending on length it’s nearly a given) a form of panic envelops most. There’s really no need for that if you just trust yourself, and trust your knowledge of what your stating. After that it’s just a matter of getting your thoughts into an understandable, linear flowing outline – and go.

Here’s a quick easy method I coined the 3-3-3 model. It goes like this:

Entire speech (60 minutes) 3 parts – Open – Body – Summation

Open (approximately 5 minutes)
Body (approximately 45 minutes)
Summation ( approximately 5 minutes)
Totaling 50 minutes

Body ( 3 Sub Topics approximately 15 minutes each)
Each sub topic ( 3 points each approximately 5 minutes each)

Example: 60 minute speech on Why Dogs – Not Cats – Or Why Not?

Open – 5 minutes on why you think this is relevant.
Then – the body 45 minutes (or evidence to support your thoughts)

  • Dogs can be trained – 5 minute point on training – 5 minute point on trainer – 5 minute point on leashes
  • Cats can’t be trained – 5 minute point – 5 minute point – 5 minute point
  • Why this maybe all wrong – 5 minute point – 5 minute point – 5 minute point

Summation – 5 minutes on what this means to both cats, dogs, and the owners that love both going forward.

If there’s any remaining time  – take a question or 2 if needed. If not say, “Thank you very much my name is ________ fill in the blank” and walk to the side of the stage. Done.

You can have all your bullet points placed neatly on an index card to keep you in check. You should be able to talk extemporaneously for 5 minutes at a time easily. (You do this in normal conversation) No need to write every word, just have your points and trust yourself.

If you’ve ended 5 or 10 minutes early yet stated everything you needed to say, and there were no questions, what ever you do don’t start trying to fill time. People will never hold it against you for finishing early but they’ll grow very tiresome of you if you go 1 minute too long.

If you break any speech down using this formula, you should be able to come up with a speech worthy of pleasing any Mom – anytime.

© 2014 Mark St.Cyr