Crafting Memorable Speeches: 4 Key Ingredients

memorable speeches

Did you know that why Steve Jobs’ commencement address at Stanford University in 2005 has become quite famous? So far it’s viewership has crossed over millions, and it’s text version still makes waves. Why it’s so powerful? It’s rightly so because of it’s message—”stay hungry, stay foolish,”. But it is also because of its structure and the way the message was delivered. That’s what makes the best speeches truly memorable speeches.

At the start of the address, Jobs just says,” “Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.” 

And that’s enough to capture the attention of viewers and readers alike. There was rapt silence.  

So, if you aspire to be a great public speaker in the future, take note! That doesn’t mean you have to be a billionaire from Silicon Valley like Jobs to deliver an impactful and powerful speech. The key is to have a clear and relevant message and to accompany it with a few engaging stories that help illustrate your point. That’s what makes the best memorable speeches truly memorable and inspiring.  

Build a Structure: No Fancy Words, Jargons Or Data 

Great speeches don’t mean using fancy PowerPoint presentations or using a lot of data to overwhelm your audiences.  Rather your aim should be to keep it simple with clear beginning, middle, and end with a central theme. In the start you should use a hook, build the story in the middle and tension should be high in the end and should be released gradually.  According to Nick Morgan, the president of Public Words, Inc. and author of Trust Me: Four Steps to Authenticity and Charisma, speeches are not the most efficient form of communication. People tend to forget a lot of what they hear, so it’s essential to keep your speech focused and straightforward.

One of the biggest motivators of our era is Stephen Covey has a famous saying, “A great speech is like a symphony. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. And it all works together to create a single, unified message.” 

Stephen Covey has summarized the secret in a sentence. And you have realized by now, it’s not a rocket science.

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Ingredients of a Memorable speeches

1. High Emotional Quotient 

A research conducted at the University of California, Berkeley has shed light on an interesting aspect of public speaking. According to their study, speeches that evoke emotional engagement are more likely to leave a lasting impression on the audience. 

Speeches that elicit emotions, whether it’s laughter, excitement, inspiration, or even sadness, our brains become more active and attentive. The emotional resonance of a speech captures our attention and enhances our memory retention. We are more likely to remember the content, the key messages, and the overall impact of a speech that triggers an emotional response within us.By tapping into the audience’s emotions, speakers can create a deeper connection, evoke empathy, and make their messages more relatable and memorable.

2.  Keep It Humorous 

Humour has the inherent ability to captivate listeners attention and change the atmosphere. When the speaker uses humour effectively, it breaks the barriers and create an instant connection with the audience as the laughter not only brings joy and amusement, but it also helps eliminate tension.  Additionally, adding a humor element adds an element of surprise and novelty. Making the content more memorable and distinct in our minds. However, it should be used sparingly and judiciously.  Avoid overusing it.  

3.  Leverage the Power of Anecdotes 

Jane Praeger, a professor at Columbia University and the president of Ovid Inc. is of the view that crafting a memorable speeches is not a daunting task.  crafting a powerful speech doesn’t have to be a daunting task. It just requires to find a central message and three compelling stories to support it. Adding anecdotes makes it easier to deliver but also enhances its impact. Recall stories from your memory and sharing them from the heart, you establish a genuine connection with your audience. These anecdotes should be inspiring, visually descriptive, and evoke emotions. They should also reflect a particular point of view, adding depth and perspective to your speech.

4.  Jump Straight to The Story  

Most speakers make the common mistake of starting the speech with a conventional opening of expressing gratitude and jumping straight into your speech. Many people make the error of beginning their speeches by thanking the person who introduced them or expressing their pleasure at being present. It’s better to dive right into your speech with an engaging opening.

Instead of the customary thank yous, start with a framing story that gives a hint about the topic without revealing everything. You can also begin with a compelling statistic, a thought-provoking question, or some form of audience interaction. When you set the stage in such a manner, you lay the groundwork for a captivating and memorable speeches.

You may like also: From Data to Story: How to Turn Information into Narratives.

Final Words: Inspire, Visualize, And…

When you have the essential elements of a good speech, such as a clear message, engaging stories, and emotional resonance, you’re already halfway toward delivering an effective presentation. Remember that the content of your speech should inspire, visualize, and convey a distinct point of view. With these ingredients in place, your delivery will naturally become more powerful and impactful.