In this post, the 3rd of my Toastmasters series, I’ll go through the different components of a speech and tell you how to deliver a memorable speech.
One of the things I learned during my experience as a Toastmaster member, is to break down a speech into 3 different components. I use this approach both when I am preparing my own speeches and when I am evaluating someone else’s. These components are structure, content, and delivery.
Aclear structure is paramount if you want to make sure your message is conveyed effectively and your audience is left with some meaningful learning. Regardless of the Toastmasters pathway¹ you select, your first speech will be your icebreaker. When preparing for that, you will learn the basic structure, which entails intro, body, and conclusions.
A very typical and old recommendation in public speaking is “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you’ve told them”. This is adopted by many public speakers, but others don’t consider this approach very effective if you want to keep your audience’s attention up. I’ve personally used it at times, but not always.
What I’ve learned from one of the projects in my Toastmasters pathway is that you can use a lot of different types of structure, for example:
The content is arguably the most important component of your speech. This is really about the WHAT. What do you want your audience to take away from your speech? What do you want them to learn and even apply in their own lives?
A speech could really be about anything, so I won’t write too much about content. However, I thought I would share a couple of thoughts from my personal experience.
First of all, when working on the content of your speech, you may need or want to carry out some research on the topic. That might require you to read a book or an online article or even to interview an expert. Whichever approach you choose, it’s very important to always quote your source and support the ideas you’re presenting.
Secondly, I want to emphasise the power of stories, a very effective tool to use in your speech. You could use one or multiple short stories during your speech, otherwise your whole speech could be a story. Stories are powerful because they stimulate and engage the human brain and help the audience and the speaker to connect. Using stories increases the likelihood of your message sticking with your audience. As Carmine Gallo writes in his book “Talk like TED”, there are 3 types of stories: personal stories, stories about other people or stories about brand success.
I personally like to mix research and personal stories and I’ve used this technique many times. However, regardless of what the content of your speech looks like, my strong recommendation is to always try to present your ideas in a novel way. Most people crave for learning and novelty is instrumental to make sure your audience has something to take away from your presentation. Even if you think that what you’re saying is not new, you can always offer a different point of view, your own point of view, and share your personal experience on the topic. That will surely make your content more original and intriguing.
Last but not least, delivery. Great delivery is essential to become an outstanding public speaker. A memorable speech is not just about what you say but it’s also about HOW you say it. Great content with a great structure delivered poorly results in mediocre speech.
Great delivery can help you achieve multiple outcomes. Great delivery can help you deeply and intimately connect with your audience and bring them on to a journey with you. Great delivery can help your audience focus on the most significant parts of your speech, capture their attention and emphasise the most important message you’re trying to convey. Great delivery can ultimately generate emotions in your audience and feeling strong emotions is what makes a speech memorable. Strong emotions stick in your brain and become part of who you are. And as a great public speaker you want your speeches to be memorable.
That’s great, but what should you look out for in order to achieve that? There are multiple aspects to delivery. We can separate them out in two macro-categories: how you use your body and how you use your voice.
How you use your body is key. I will focus on 4 areas, body language, hand gestures, facial expression and eye contact³.
In my next post I will write about one of my passions, the power of feedback.
 If you want to learn more about Pathways and Toastmasters, please read my previous post.
 If you are curious you can read about this story that I turned into a Medium post here.
 For more tips about delivering a speech, this video is a must-watch.
Blog was written by author as 8 part Toastmaster series and also available in his personal Medium post