How to write a great speech: ORIGINALITY

My previous blog piece focused on relevance.

But although being relevant will help you convince your audience to listen for a while, it isn’t enough on its own to hook them in.   And so once you have decided what your key message is going to be, you need to wrap it in an original way.

Don’t worry.  This doesn’t mean you need to wear a bizarre costume, Morris dance  or sing.  But whatever the event at which you are speaking, you need to convince your audience that they are going to learn something new from you.  And the best way to do that is to communicate a little differently.

There’s obviously a catch here.  If I give you an original idea then it will immediately cease to be original.  But I can give three examples of people who have managed to present relevant ideas in ways that have really made an impact on the audiences concerned.

Like the energy consultant who flew off to a meeting in Cape Town last April and linked the various elements of a new technology his firm had launched to the preparations for the Royal Wedding.  This enabled the less technical members of the audience to enjoy the speech and understand his role.  He was congratulated the following day on being the most impressive speaker at that year’s conference.

Then there’s the example of the accountant given fifteen minutes to speak on the difference between tax evasion and avoidance.  This is obviously a technical issues with major consequences.  Avoidance leaves more money sitting in your personal account.  Evasion gains you a stretch behind bars.  And so she started by telling a story about life in Ford Open prison.  Her audience were captivated.  And their interest grew when she explained that was exactly what they could be facing if they failed to listen to some of the finer details that were to follow.

Finally, there was a father-of-the-bride at a wedding.  His speech was relevant enough, but it just lacked a little bite.  Until he mentioned that his daughter had spent the first twenty years of her life obsessed with the musical Grease.  As a result, he wove together the key stories and characters from her life using song titles and lyrics sung by John Travolta and Olivia Newton John.  The following week he and his wife started receiving thank you letters for the wedding.  And the vast majority referred to his speech as being the best they had ever heard.

These examples are obviously pretty random.  There is, sadly, no formula for originality.  It disappears the minute you try to adhere to a template.  And that’s why every speech we write at Great Speech Writing begins on a blank piece of paper.

But if you can combine a relevant approach with an original way of communicating the message then you are on well on track.

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