Wize Communications

How to figure out the the purpose of your public speech

By Aysha Iqbal, Director, Wize Communications.

Many people often struggle with the most essential aspect of public speaking. Having a clear purpose and a message that they want to say to their audience. But just like it is important to lay a firm foundation before piling up the material to construct a building, in the same way it is important to be crystal clear about the message of your speech, before you put pen to paper.
As Dale Carnegie once said ” once said: “A talk is voyage with purpose and it must be charted. The man who starts out going nowhere, generally gets there.” So having a clear purpose before you think about what you are going to say to your audience will ensure that you are able to write and deliver a speech that is clear, focussed and with possesses a strong sense of direction. So before you set sail with your public speaking rhetoric, make sure you have a clear route you are navigating. Know your purpose, so you will know your path.

Prior to preparing or even contemplating my own public speeches, I always ensure I clearly know their purpose and define the message of my speech before doing anything else. By doing this, I am confident that it will be much easier to put together the main content of my speech and that the whole process will be much more effective. efficient and effortless.

So what’s the best way to know the purpose of your speech. What is the best way to cut through the clutter of your thoughts and discover that clear compelling message.

Perhaps the most powerful question you can ask yourself before putting pen to paper is what do I want the audience to take away from this speech. Or what is the one thing I want my audience to remember when I have walked away from the podium and am no longer on the stage. This question will help you to reflect on what you really want to say and enable you to cut through the clutter of multiple possibilities.

So for example, I was recently asked to give a speech about the challenges of being a south Asian woman in the media industry. This request by the company Media Monks could have led my mind into multiple directions as to what would be the best thing to speak about with regards to this subject. But being a regular public speaker, I knew I needed to be clear about the purpose of my speech before I set sail on my voyage of word play. So I asked myself the critical question, what did I want my audience to remember after I had dropped the microphone and left the stage. What was the one message that I wanted to resonate with them after my image had faded from their memories and my speech was a date in their diary of yesterday. After some contemplation and reflection, I soon realised that I wanted to tell the audience that race was not a barrier to reaching your media aspirations because this had been my experience and this is what I truly believed. I wanted to motivate my audience and inspire them to pursue their broadcast dreams whatever their race, ethnicity and background and not to see it as a barrier. When I left the stage, and dropped the mic – this was the message I wanted to stay in the hearts of those I had spoken to.

With this clearly carved out purpose- which I arrived at after a few minutes of reflection- I knew that the rest of the speech writing would be much easier as it just needed to echo and support the purpose of my presentation and the core message I had now clearly defined. I would now be able to structure my speech in support of this message and my audience would leave the room feeling inspired and motivated to pursue their goals and think less negatively about race being a barrier to their media aspirations. By being clear in your mind about what you want your audience to go away thinking, feeling and doing after hearing you speak, you will be able to put together a speech that reflects your core purpose and argues your message more clearly.

The next step to defining a clearer purpose for your speech is to condense your message down into one clear sentence. Once you know what you want your audience to take away from the speech, you need to think of a clear, concise and purposeful way to write it down . Try to avoid any jargon or convulted speech, and keep it short, simple clear and precise. So when thinking about the message I wanted my audience to take away from my speech to the audience at Media Monks, I defined the following.

“Race is not a barrier to reaching your broadcast dreams”

Having this message clearly written down made it much easier for me to move forward to the next part of writing my speech – coming up with good arguments to persuade the audience of my perspective. Now that I was clear about what I wanted to say, it was much easier to think of clear and compelling arguments to back it up. And so it will be the same for you. Once you know what your purpose is and have a clear and crisp message, it’ll be so much easier to put together the a speech that is more focused, persuasive, powerful and potent.

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