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Pacing yourself helps you articulate better and emphasize the most salient parts of your speech. You’re not just putting yourself out there to say something — retention is key. You have to make your message (or at least the crux of it) memorable to your audience.
Just like a novel, the content needs to pack a punch in order to sustain the audience’s interest. If you think about it, a speech should work even harder because (1) it’s shorter and (2) it’s purely an aural experience which requires the full attention of your audience.
Before you start writing, Jeff Schmitt
of Forbes advises keeping these two objectives in mind: “Make a good impression and leave your audience with two or three takeaways.”
Schmitt also highlights the importance of “striking the right tone.” Know your audience well, their reasons for wanting to listen to your speech, and what they want out of it.
of YPO elaborates on several “memorable ways to open a speech or presentation.” A quote, “what if” scenario, or statistic are some of the methods you can utilize to captivate your audience.
To make your speech more interesting, Gray-Grant advises “to tell stories or give examples” because stories “stick” and people actually recall them. Another approach is to use humor to break the monotony, but only when it serves an “organic” and relevant purpose for your topic or message. Try not to detract from the flow and coherence of your speech or from the essence of your message.
Just like what chapter breaks are to a novel, remember to integrate cues for pauses or breaks in between points of your speech in order to signal the end of one topic and to smoothly transition to the next.