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Introduction

Below are all the articles in the Create the ‘Best-Speech-of-Your-Life series. This series is intended for anyone interested in speechcraft, public speaking, or preparing for a big speech like a wedding, sales pitch, or work presentation.

For those interested in communicating more effectively (but in less time), check back later for a future article. If you don’t want to miss these posts or want the free e-book with this whole series and bonus material (late 2019/early 2020), sign-up for my email list at the bottom of the page.

Best Speech Articles

  • First Draft
    • Just write, idea generation, audience identification, writing habit, writing process
  • Second Draft
    • Purpose, theme, structure, editing
  • Upgrade
    • Engaging introduction
    • Ask questions
    • Memorable communication (Made to Stick)
    • Storytelling (Vonnegut, The Writer’s Journey)
    • Add more humor
    • Powerful conclusion
  • Evolve
    • Example of speech evolution
  • Get Feedback
    • Mentor identification, feedback mindset, capturing input
    • Rewriting, the improvement process
  • Act
    • Eye contact, movement, gestures
    • Vocal variety – pace, power, pause, pitch
  • Practice *
    • Recording and listening to audio, watching video
    • Preparing for variables: room, reactions, equipment
    • Visualization
  • Perform *
    • Calming nerves
    • Adapt in the flow, have fun, enjoy the moment

* Articles without links will be posted later once available.

Speaking dropping mic, "Are you not entertained?"

Top Five Techniques

Don’t want to read the whole series now? Short on time before that next big presentation? Start with these five techniques to maximize the effectiveness of your speech right now in the minimum time.

  1. Answer ‘why are you speaking?’
    • What’s the purpose of your speech? If I have to listen to you, you owe it to me to answer that question clearly and concisely.
  2. Tell a story
    • Not logic, not facts, not science, give me a good story even if its about you learning logic, facts, or science. Use Vonnegut or Vogler.
  3. Write two drafts
    • You don’t have to follow the instructions from my first draft and second draft. You should write down what you plan to say. Then write it one more time after completing the next two suggestions. That’s how to get 80% of the benefits of developing a great speech in 20% of the time.
  4. Cut what’s good, not great
    • Read your speech. Scan any slides. Ask yourself: “What’s good, not great?” Cut the good and the great stands out. I call this ‘cut your babies’ because it’s easier to remember. Read how to edit your speech if you want to go deeper.
  5. Get feedback
    • Before you deliver your speech to many people, you owe it to yourself and your audience to learn the opinion of one person, one time. You don’t need to use all these feedback tips, particularly repeating the process. Just do it once.

Bonus Tip – Because Top Six doesn’t have the same ring to it and this is the one you’re least likely to do but may make the biggest impact.

  • Record audio
    • You will memorize your speech quickly. You will change what sounds awful. You will upgrade your speech like a pro. Here’s my example.

Speechcraft Resources

This list contains the best book, articles, or other materials I’ve found for learning to become a better public speaker. Not all are directly about speech, but when applied they will grow your skills in producing memorable messages.

Books

  • Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath
  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
  • The Creative Habit by Twyla Twarp
  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  • The Writer’s Journey: Mythical Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler
  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
  • Contagious by Jonah Berger
  • Deep Work by Cal Newport
  • Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday

Articles