What makes a “GOOD SPEECH”?

I have always loved the TED Talks ; They are inspiring, informative, educational and many times open your eyes and mind to possibilities which you never knew existed. In fact, my personal recommendation to anyone would be if you can spend 20 minutes everyday in watching ONE TED talk for ONE month – Your life will change! I can say from experience… Try it!

Why I am writing about TED Talks here is this – After watching several TED videos, I was left wondering with a thought on “WHAT MAKES A GOOD SPEECH”..

Now I know that there is no universal definition of “GOOD”.. So what appeals to one may not appeal to another..
for some “a GOOD SPEECH” is one which is rich in data and analysis
for some “a GOOD SPEECH” means getting all the facts 100% right
for some “a GOOD SPEECH” is one which makes you think
for some “a GOOD SPEECH” is one which inspires you
for some “a GOOD SPEECH” is one which teaches you something new
for some “a GOOD SPEECH” is one which opens you to new worlds and perspectives
for some “a GOOD SPEECH” is one which has some Return on Time Invested (or ROTI as I call it)
for some “a GOOD SPEECH is all of the above

And yet when you look back at history or your own life; you will agree that there are some speeches which left a mark, which you recall with amazing clarity, which made a difference.

So coming back to the question “WHAT MAKES A GOOD SPEECH?”..
Before we start, Let’s just make a few assumptions
(1) The speech lasted for 20 – 30 minutes
(2) There was a decent audience size which was “interested in what you have to say” and “were actually listening when you spoke” (No matter how good a speaker you are, the audience does make a HUGE difference.So from my experience, even the best speakers deliver a different quality of output based on the audience size, interest levels and attentiveness) – And even I can vouch for this from personal experience
(3) There was a specific topic to speak about (It was not an extempore speech)

So what makes a GOOD SPEECH? Here’s my view:
(1) A well-thought STRUCTURE – With 3 basic sections : An Introduction / Beginning, the main body and a Conclusion
(2) A powerful opening – How one starts a speech usually makes all the difference in how interested and attentive an audience is in what you have to say. Starting with humor, a personal real life incident, some less know data / facts and figures are powerful ways to get audience interest and attention
(3) A POINT-OF-VIEW – A good speech should have a view. Either for a topic, against a topic or should present both view or state facts for what they are or explain a concept. And readers should be able to understand this from your rendition
(4) RIGHT Data and Facts – In today’s day and age, it is very easy for an average and interested individual to verify and validate facts on Google. So, get the data points right!
(5) Quotes from the WISE – Always quoting a wise / well-known individual to strengthen / emphasize your point is a great way to add some punch to your message. Of course, it have to be relevant and contextual
(6) A “CREATIVE” rendition – Makes so much difference. And by creative, I mean anything – Music, Actions, Videos, Photos, Acting, etc/ – Whatever helps to drive home the point
(7) The “RIGHT” pace – Too fast, and no one gets you. Too slow, and you lose the audience. It has to be just RIGHT for the average listener
(8) Humor – A dash of humor does a long way in making your speech memorable and impactful. Of course, you have to be cautious about this and not say something which you may regret later.
(9) A touch of EMOTION – Add a touch of the right emotion, and if your words touch an emotional chord with the average listener, the speech is likely to be a winner
(10) Personal anecdotes – Stating personal anecdotes from your own personal experience helps in making a co-relation, and also strengthens your credibility as you speak from personal experience

Last but not least, the SPEAKER profile does make all the difference – in terms of his / her brand image, position, authority, power, public sentiment for / against him / her, integrity & strength of character. So if the same speech is given by a politician / professor / business professional / social-worker / motivational speaker – It would have a different effect and impact!

What’s your view? Leave a comment to let me know….


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