Thursday, March 15, 2012

7 Steps to Make Speeches an Influential Tool in Association Management

“Back in the day” -- when it cost about $15 to make a slide – I wrote speeches for associations ... about 60 per year for our volunteer leaders and senior staff. Some were formal (like the outgoing president’s convention speech) and others informal (such as for a group of farmers gathered in a school auditorium).

This process showed me that a well crafted and presented speech can serve as a powerful tool for your association or nonprofit organization. It can motivate, energize, engage. It can establish a policy position. It can captivate prospects. It can stir members.

The problem? PowerPoint and other tools have made most of us lazy speakers. And, as I wrote last week, the lecture format has downgraded the power of the speech.

Here are 7 tips to build the power of your speeches: 

1.  Define your purpose and make sure you achieve it
 Know why you are speaking. Is it a speech to inform? Educate? Persuade? Motivate? What do you want your audience to do, not do or let you do when you’ve finished speaking?

2. Tell’em format
 My former broadcast journalism prof gave us a 3-part formula that still works today. And, since he didn’t count my proper English as the correct answer, I’ve never forgotten the formula:
    Opening: Tell’em what your gonna tell’em
    Middle:  Tell’em
    Closing:  Tell’em what ya told’em

3. Use stories & visuals
    Especially stories “unique” to you or your organization. Personal “stuff” ... not something they would hear somewhere else. Nick Morgan wrote How to tell powerful stories in your speeches Jeff Hurt wrote on the importance of visuals in "Looking To Learn: Why Visuals Are So Important

4. Use the “Chunk It” format (see graphic) to turn lectures into audience engagement
Make your presentation in three chunks ... it will help with engagement and retention. (See Rule of 3 below.)

5. People remember in 3s ... use it as a game plan for your presentation 
 The power of three goes back centuries
For your presentation on 3 “chunks” that support your main points

6. Eye contact is key to persuasion
 Various studies show that audience trust in the speaker increases based on the amount of eye contact. Unfortunately, Power Points interfere with eye contact between speaker and audience, especially if the speaker spends most of the time looking at the screen and not the audience.  

7. Post presentation tools
As I wrote back in November, you waste association resources if you use it only once. So, find ways to maximize the resources devoted to a speech. Here are eight suggestions:

  • Turn it into a blog post. 
  • Video tape it and put it on YouTube (linked to your Website). 
  • Load the Power Points on your association’s SlideShare account. 
  • Convert the main points into an article in the association’s newsletter or magazine. 
  • Tweet the key points during the speech. 
  • Post a file of the speech to your association’s LinkedIn account. 
  • Put a photo of the speaker on your Facebook and Pinterest pages. 
  • Create a news release with the key points in the speech and use it in your marketing. (See this and other info from David Meerman Scott.) 
How is your association using speeches to achieve its objectives?

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