|NATIONAL JOURNAL Graphic|
This is one reason I continue to be shocked when U.S. Presidents give State of the Union speeches lasting an hour or longer. The graphic above shows the average length of presidential speeches.
Most of the few Americans watching a State of the Union address tire long before the speech finishes.
- of the applause lines with Members of Congress jumping up and down on cue;
- of the “bored-looking” leaders in the background;
- of a laundry list of “ideas” being offered and
- of the responses and talking head critics.
Most associations include a “presidential address” during their annual conventions. I have written or designed 10 or more major speeches for leading associations. In addition to focusing on audience, message, content and form, I also tried to incorporate some type of surprise to spice up what can be a boring element of the conference.
If you have anything to do with the speech, think of the audience first and follow these three suggestions:
- Keep talk to no more than 20 minutes.
- Consider no more than three key points.
- If you have a laundry list, share as handout and/or via social media.