Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Writing Speeches for Your Executives? 5 Tips to Help Your Clients Deliver Exciting Speeches

Writing Speeches for Your Executives? 5 Tips to Help Your Clients Deliver Exciting Speeches

1. Open Hot, Close Hotter

To grab audience attention and be remembered, start the presentation with a bang -- not a limp "Thanks, it's nice to be here." The first (and last) 30 seconds have the most impact on the audience. Save any greetings and gratitude until they've already grabbed the audience with a powerful opening. And don't end with a whimper. Remember that last words linger. Unfortunately, many speakers close with "Are there any questions?" Wrong! Instead, say, "Before I close, are there any questions?" Answer them. Then, close on a high note.

2. Get the Inside Scoop

Attendees at one of my seminars, "How to Be a Coach to Your Client," wanted to know how they can personalize and add excitement and color to the speeches they craft for others. How, they ask, can they get those invaluable inside stories? I suggested they do what I do: Interview the client's colleagues and family members. These people are familiar with the "stories" the speaker often tells -- stories which have already been honed to what I call the "Hollywood model" (characters, dialogue, dramatic lesson learned). What insights and amusing stories can they share? Advise your members to ask others for input that can provide color and energy to a presentation.

3. Try Inside-Out Speaking

Don't write speeches for people to read. Instead, sit down with them, in person or on the phone, and ask them questions. I do this, pulling out of them their ideas, stories, life experiences, philosophies and examples through questions. Then, my job is to help them organize, wordsmith and deliver these comments with more drama.

Although the client and I often end up with a script that can then be edited and tightened, the words grow out of our conversations. I call this "inside-out" speaking. My work represents a cleaned-up conversation, one the speaker is going to have with the audience. Of course, a script is not a conversation. Nevertheless, if it sounds conversational, it is far more appealing and much easier to deliver directly to the audience without reading it word for word. Emotional contact is impossible without eye contact.

4. Provide Five Magic Moments

How are great speeches like classic Hollywood movies? Movie promoters say that a successful film has to have five magic moments for each viewer, although not necessarily the same five. When the film does, people will talk about it and add enough energy to a paid advertising campaign to make it a hit. Be sure your presentation has five great moments -- dramatic, humorous, profound or poignant -- that the audience can relive in its minds later and repeat to friends.

5. Avoid Borrowed Stories

I urge you to create vivid, personal stories for your executives' presentations. Imagine how I once felt, sitting in an audience of 18,000 people, listening to former First Lady Barbara Bush describe a great story she had read in Chicken Soup for the Soul. It was my own story which made the point, "What you do speaks louder than what you say." (Yes, I know Ralph Waldo Emerson said it first.) Did Barbara Bush mention it was my story? No.

But even if she had mentioned my name, I think she missed a huge opportunity with her speech. Back then, I imagined her sitting in bed at the White House, going through stacks of books with a highlighter pen for things to talk about. Since then, I've realized that a speechwriter did the research and wrote her words. My point? I'm not upset she didn't credit me. I am disappointed that someone with Barbara Bush's incredible life experiences did not share them. I am sure she had much more interesting recent topics and perceptions than reporting on something someone said to me many years ago. That's how audiences will feel if your members repeat things they've read instead of experienced.

Source: http://www.expertclick.com/NewsReleaseWire/default.cfm?Action=ReleaseDetail&ID=18447

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