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10 life hacks: writing a convincing speech

I give a lot of speeches.  I give speeches to convince companies to contract for my services. I speak at conventions and other events about the power of branding. I give speeches to help one business area of a company convince another to get on board with a new branding strategy.

Each time, I give a speech, I am still hit with a bit of nerve. Fortunately, I have learned some tricks that have helped me to become more convincing. Here are some hacks that you can use to write and present a convincing business speech that inspires.

1.    Use Visuals

Chances are, your audience will be made up with a combination of visual and auditory learners. Use PowerPoint, SlideShare or other presentation software to present images, charts, infographics, or even video to your audience. This will make your speech more memorable and will help you to keep your audience members’ attention.

2.    Don’t Hand Out Presentation Pamphlets Until The End

It’s fairly standard for presenters to pass out pamphlets or copies of their slide presentations before they begin speaking. This is a big mistake. You want your audience to be focused on you and the speech that you are presenting. Don’t give them something to read while you are speaking. Instead, let your audience know that you will be providing them with handouts at the end. Even better, follow up with handouts via email. This gives you the opportunity to initiate some follow-up contact.

3.    Start With a Great Hook

The way that you begin your speech sets the tone. Write an introduction that hooks your audience and gets them interested in what you have to say. Some ideas for writing your speech include:

●     Sharing a Story
●     Repeating a Quote
●     Giving a Surprising Fact or Statistic
●     Asking a Question

When deciding how to open your speech, take into consideration the emotions that you want to evoke.

4.    Know Your Audience

Do some research before you write your speech. Who will be in the audience? Then, ask yourself the following questions:

●     What barriers will I face in convincing my audience?
●     How can my idea solve their problems?
●     What can I do to make my presentation accessible to them on an intellectual level?
●     How can I adjust the tone of my speech to fit my audience best?

For example, if you are giving a speech in favor of purchasing a CRM solution for your employer, you might present significantly different speeches to the finance department and the marketing department.

5.    Structure Your Speech Like a Three Act Play

Your first act should be the presentation of your idea, product, or request. Next, you should go into detail. Get into the meat of things. This is your second act. The end of your speech is the third act. Break the fourth wall, and ask the audience for questions and feedback. Sum up your strongest points. Keep in mind that the last things your audience hears will be the most memorable. If you have a lot on the line consider getting help from a professional writer. Just be sure to stick with the best sites for writing help.

6.    Anticipate Questions

If you know who your audience is going to be, you should be able to anticipate what questions they are most likely to ask. Create a list of these questions and make sure you know how you are going to answer them. Another approach is to practice your speech in front of a friend or trusted colleague. Then, ask them what questions they might have based on what you have proposed.

7.    Include Data

Whenever possible provide your audience with data and real numbers. Don’t say ‘Other companies have benefitted from purchasing this solution.’ Instead, refer to a case study that proves that point. Don’t claim that your company can save a ‘lot’ of money. Do your homework and make a specific prediction. Be concrete!

8.    Communicate Benefits

Investors want to know how they can make money and how quickly it is going to happen. Your boss wants to know how your proposal is going to save time and money, or earn more business. Your teammates want to know how their lives are going to be made easier. Focus on the benefits that will result from going along with your proposal.

9.    Know When to Stop Talking

Stop when you hear the word yes. Do not continue on with your speech. There is no way to turn a yes into a bigger yes. The only thing that you can do by continuing to talk is changing your audience’s mind. Instead, focus on closing the deal and figuring out which steps to take next.

10.  End With a Call to Action

At the end of your speech, what do you want your audience to do? Are you hoping for an expense approval, for an organization to commit to buying your products or services, or to receive approval to go ahead with a project? Your call to action should be clear and compelling. It is best to pair it with a benefit statement. Here are a few examples:

●     If we’re ready to increase revenue by 10 percent this quarter, I will begin assembling my project team.
●     My sales person can arrange a meeting this week to ensure that you never have to worry about network security again.
●     Email me the expense approval today, and I will pass this information on to research and development.

Conclusion

Follow the tips outlined here, and you will be on the right path to delivering a speech that gets the results you are looking for. Remember that preparation, data, and persuasion is key. As long as those are present, you will feel much more confident when it is time to give that important speech.

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