Recently I had cause to reflect on what makes a speech memorable, what is it that makes us remember a message days, weeks, months or years after a speech has been made. Most of us would argue that it’s the speaker, their energy, their idea. I would argue that it is the way that the speaker leaves their message, the way that they give us something to remember. In this blog I wanted to share some ways that we can leave a message so our audience can remember our point well after the “red light”.
Make a Point Tell a Story
Ever since I heard the 1990 World Champion of Public Speaking David Brookes uttered those six famous words from Zig Ziegler at an Annual Conference back in 2005 it changed the way that I viewed the power of story in a speech. As a speaker, stories have to be ones best tools we have to help the audience remember our message. Stories engage our senses, they apply the theory of a lesson to a practical example and stories help us share an emotion connection with the audience helping us remember with our hearts not just our heads.
In our last Parramatta Meeting Elizabeth Wilson used simple stories to illustrate her journey, to become a Grand Master in Bridge, and how that has affected everything from Partners she’s had to the Championships she has completed in and won.
But you don’t have to be as experienced as Elizabeth to use stories effectively, more than a week later I can remember that, through the use of story David King showed us that Australia is not a racist country and multiculturalism does work, just by recounting simple stories such as catching up with friends in an English pub.
Make it Simple to Remember
It may seem like an obvious thing to say, but, the more complicated something is, the harder it is to remember, and therefore, the more likely we are to forget it. It still surprises me how many times I have seen presenters try to give complex messages with little thought to simplifying their message. I feel compelled to clarify here that I am not suggesting dumbing down a message but rather using strategies to make the message easier to remember. For example, using a using an acronym (such as PREP) can help audiences remember your key points of your message as it provides a mental hook for them to latch on to.
Another way of making your message simple to remember is to use PowerPoint to present your ideas. Melanie Wilson did this in her speech about blogging. Just by using a few simple slides Melanie was able to walk her audience through the process of setting up and writing a blog in a simple effective manner.
Engage Through Thought and Feeling
If you watch World Championship speeches over the last twenty years or so you may have noticed regardless of the speakers message and objectives they all engage the audience thought and feeling. Speeches such as Ed Tate’s speech “One of Those Days” or Lance Miller’s “The Ultimate Question” engages us by making us think (What would we do? How would we do it?) And by making us feel (I want to stand up, I want to validate others).
Even our club’s representative at the upcoming Western Division Contest David Griffiths uses thought and feeling to help his audience remember the message of his speech. Think about ask yourself right now what is David’s message? Can I name the other “F” word? And if you can (no spoilers here) then the chances are you are remembering this because of the way that David gets message across by getting you to think and feel.
So what speeches do you remember? How long along ago? What was it that helped you remember why not share them in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org?
Ron Marriott works a Project Management Officer and is a past Area 13 and Western Division Governor. Ron has been a member of Parramatta Toastmasters Club since July 2002. While not at Toastmasters Ron enjoys supporting his favourite football team, agreeing with his Fiancé.