Thursday, February 25, 2010

What can you say in the time it takes to soft-boil an egg?

More than you might imagine. On July 24, 2009 Joan Detz gave a Thorough Speech on Brief Speechmaking, subtitled Mastering the Three-Minute Speech: Advice for Your Speaking Success. Her audience was the National Conference of State Legislatures, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Joan has written the following four books:

It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It (2000)
Can You Say a Few Words (1991, 2006)
You Mean I Have to Stand Up and Say Something (1986)
How to Write and Give a Speech (1984, 1992, 2002)

You can read the text of her speech here or download it in the October 2009 sample issue of Vital Speeches of the Day. Her twelve points were to:

1. Expand your definition of a speech.
2. Do your math.
3. Focus your message.
4. See if you can tie your message into the date in history.
5. Make adjustments based on audience demographics.
6. Be specific.
7. Watch your pronouns.
8. Give it some style.
9. Use a light touch of humor.
10. Fix your delivery problems.
11. Consider your A-V options.
12. Don’t run overtime.

Under No. 2, do your math meant that you should know your speech rate in words per minute. The US average is 140, but it varies widely. However, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was only 268 words, so even at a leisurely 90 words per minute you could fit it into three minutes.

Under No. 4, she mentioned three historical events that occurred on July 24. Regarding No. 5, there is another event celebrated in Utah called Pioneer Day.

Under No.10, fix your delivery problems, she mentioned that you might read books, take classes, get coaching, watch C-Span, join Toastmasters International, etc.

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