Related BestSteps™
The Use of Repetition in Your Speech
Making Your Speech Worthwhile
Finding Your Speech Objective
Achieving the Purpose of Your Speech

Jan DArcy
  Three Main Points in Your Speech

There are certain points in your speech that you absolutely want the audience to remember. Here is Jan D'Arcy to show you how to design your talk so that every audience member walks away with those three key ideas.

There is a danger in choosing the right objective but the wrong message. One client told me an experience he had. My client had wanted a company to contribute heavily to a charitable organization. This company had recently received very bad publicity in regard to over-pricing goods in some government contracts. My client's message was, "This is an opportune time for the company to fund this worthy, charitable program, to offset the company's recently acquired bad image."

The reaction was terrible. The company spokesperson said they didn't have a bad image. The press had maligned them. The situation had been blown up beyond all proportions. The company was not about to fund anything to counteract something they felt didn't even exist.

Although my client cited many other positives that were of profit value to them, they only heard the words, "bad image." He hadn't chosen the correct message.

Defining and writing down your message will help you to determine what your main points will be. Your message will determine what to emphasize, what to leave out and what to develop in detail. It is similar to packing a suitcase and deciding what is essential to take on a trip. If you have been invited to attend a formal wedding in San Francisco, you would know that jeans would not be necessary. If you are going for a weekend in the Poconos, you will need your jeans and maybe tennis attire and a swimsuit.

Imagine a target. In the center is a red bull's eye. It represents your main points, 20 percent of your speech, the 20 percent that will make 80 percent of the impact. It is essential that your audience get this material. They must accept it and remember it.

Surrounding this is a blue circle that is 30 percent of your speech and contains the introduction and the conclusion.

Continuing outward is a yellow circle of 30 percent, which contains supporting points.

Then the final circle of green, of 20 percent, which is frosting on the cake, with additional details, which are interesting but not essential. If you had to cut a few minutes off your speech, you could easily take off this final ring and not destroy the main message of your speech.

The audience usually has forgotten 75 percent of any speech 24 hours later. It is necessary to repeat and reinforce the main ideas, that 20 percent of the center, in different ways to help your audience remember.

Associating unfamiliar ideas with the familiar, using vivid imagery, contrast and comparison, visuals, hands-on experience and handouts and repetition will all help your listeners put the main points into long-term memory.

Three main points seem to be the maximum for an audience to digest and retain. If you give five or six points, your audience will get lost and go into overload and shut down.

Now, here are two things you can do immediately to increase the impact of any talk you give:

First, remember that every speech has a job to do. What is the job or task that this speech is meant to accomplish? Build your talk design around that answer.

Second, concentrate all of your efforts on emphasizing the three key points that you want your audience to remember, plus your call for action at the end. Everything else is supportive to these ideas.


Copyright © 2000 TrueYou Inc. Pat. Pending