Giving a speech or presentation can be scary. You have a few moments to convince a room of strangers to buy your product or get them to trust what you are pitching. But there is hope! History has shown us many ways to give a truly great speech – a speech that goes “bang” in people’s hearts and minds.
In this article I want to look at a few of those great speeches and talk about how you can give a work presentation that hits the point and makes an impression.
1. Martin Luther King Junior: I Have a Dream
Connect with the audience’s emotions and repeat the message
In 1963 Martin Luther King Junior gave what is probably the most recognized and famous speech of all time. It is a speech that changed the nation forever and burned its way into the memory of millions of Americans. How did he do this? He connected with the emotions of the audience. Take a look:
Martin Luther King uses the phrase “I have a dream” to rip his way into the hearts of his listeners. The dream he speaks of is, in fact, the same dream of everyone listening – this is why the speech is so emotionally powerful. I challenge anyone to watch this clip and not shed a tear. He is speaking directly to the innermost sanctum of the human heart. He is speaking about human experience, love, parenthood, freedom – these things evoke emotion.
If you want to make a great speech you need to connect to the emotions of those listening.
The second thing King Jr. did was repeat a key phrase. “I have a dream” was said at important points throughout the speech and it was this key phrase that made the speech so memorable. By repeating “I have a dream” at important junctions he was able to associate certain emotions with that phrase. Now, whenever anyone hears “I have a dream” they think of equality, freedom, brotherhood and so on.
Make sure you have some repetition in your speech. If you say something once people will forget. Say it twice, people will remember.
2. John F. Kennedy: Inaugural Address (Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You)
Increase volume at the right time, evoke people’s imagination and ask questions
Volume is a very important part of a great speech. If you use volume correctly you can draw your audience’s attention in or you can emphasize a point. A whisper can be just as powerful as a shout. Kennedy increases his volume at the key points of this speech and as such forces people to pay attention. [Read more…] about History’s Great Speeches: How to Make Work Presentations and Speeches Like the Greats