Being an expert of something, you must admit the necessity of giving some speeches from time to time. It may be some conferences, lectures, public speeches in front of your colleagues, presentations, or just a piece of advice to your friend. It's not easy to give a speech, if you are not an experienced speaker yet who can combine two words together quickly and make them sound interesting to the audience. What should you do to get good skills of speaking? Write a speech beforehand!
Be prepared to your speech. But writing down plain sentences will not make you a great speaker for sure. You should write a speech everyone would remember and cite! What tricks are better to use here? Whom to take as an example?
Many speechwriters call Abraham Lincoln a real guru of speaking. Indeed, his Gettysburg Address is considered one of the best speeches ever written and given by a person. And maybe this man is hard to call the most handsome historical personality, but he is definitely the most powerful speaker of the American history.
Here are 9 secrets of a perfect speech every expert can take away from Abraham Lincoln today:
What is the exact purpose of your speech? You shouldn't speak just to make yourself sound good. Your speech should have A MESSAGE, and it should awake your audience for them to start acting. Lincoln's purpose was to win the war; and not just win but do that for the United States forefathers' ideals.
People do not like long speeches actually. If you are able to make it short but capture all main ideas you want to give, the bigger chances are that people will listen to you. Every year the President gives his speech to Congress, and they have to listen to him for more than an hour. Do you think they are happy with that? Lincoln's speech lasted for 2 minutes only, and there were just 10 sentences in it.
Your speech can be ruined very quickly, if you start it with thanking millions of other people and talking about how good both you and they were. Have you ever listened to the President? And many speakers do the same mistake: their speeches are too formal, but people do not need it actually. Follow the example of Lincoln, and start your speech with its key points. Your audience will pay attention to you at once.
4. Thoughts of a big audience
Even if you speak in front of 10 people, always think of larger audience. Abraham Lincoln understood that his speech could influence not only those people in front of him, but the whole nation in general. It happened that his speech was reprinted many times, and millions of people listened to it. Today, when we have the Internet, the same thing may happen to your speech very quickly. Just think of it.
5. Remember the audience
Try to understand, that your speech shouldn't be a simple list of facts or events. You talk to people, and your task is to speak to their emotions, to make them understand and FEEL what you are talking about. When Lincoln gave his speech, he talked about those men who died for certain ideas and asked people to ensure that those deaths weren't in vain.
It is very important to create a picture in people's minds with the help of your words. Do not use simple words because they do not work at all. Imagery is a key here, and it should be related to your topic of course. For example, Lincoln use the imagery "conceived" for birth, and the imagery "perish" for death.
Do not be afraid of starting your speech with some references, if they are related to its central theme. You can use lines from some other speeches, books, poetry, the Bible, etc. It will grab people's attention and make them understand the importance of your words better. Abraham Lincoln started his speech with a line from the Declaration of Independence:
"All men are created equal."
Ernest Hemingway said, that the first draft could never be perfect. Lincoln usually prepared several variants of his speech, and revised each of them properly. Remember about your central idea, words and imagery to use, and don't be afraid of cutting all unnecessary things.
9. Strong end
For your speech to have influence, it should have a strong ending. If the first lines of your speech grab people's attention, its final lines will be exactly what people will remember. Final words of your speech should contain the message and idea you want your audience to remember.
As for Abraham Lincoln, he ended his well-known speech with the following words:
"â€¦that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."