The Most Important Part of a Speech (If You Want To Connect)


In a recent poll, I asked, “What is the most important part of a speech?”

We received several responses. Answers ranged from:

- The opening
- The closing
- Connection with the audience
- The delivery

These are excellent responses.

There is no wrong answer to this question, but, there’s one answer I left out. It’s the most important part of a presentation:

The thoughts and feelings of the audience listening to your speech.

The purpose of speaking is to change listeners’ perspective on a topic.

(There is one exception: the entertaining speech, but the majority of presentations have a message).

The best speeches focus on providing a new insight or way of thinking. They challenge the listener to see and experience the world in a new way.

I speak to audiences about the value of business storytelling.

People often walk into my presentations with thoughts like:

- I only need to give people the facts
- Storytelling is a waste of time
- I don’t need help telling a story

If I’m going to break through those beliefs, I have to change their perspective. My job is to change their thoughts and feelings about storytelling.

How Do You Do That?

Begin with the end. The first question to ask yourself when structuring your presentation is:

What do you want the audience to think, feel, or do differently when you’re done speaking?

It may be to schedule a phone call, invest in your product/service, or sign up for your tips.

Focus on one (and only one) outcome. 

Then determine your main message.

Then craft your presentation:

- The attention-grabbing opening
- Relevant supporting points for your main message
- Compelling conclusion

Once you’ve created the material, rehearse a few times to internalize the flow.

Then get feedback from trusted associates.

Make adjustments, and repeat the process.

Yes, your opening and conclusion are important.

Your material must stick.

Your delivery must be authentic.

You need to connect with listeners to influence them.

However, each of them is one step to the most important part of your presentation.

Through each step of the process, keep one question in mind:

What is my audience thinking and feeling through each part of the presentation?

Start from this point. Refer to it throughout the process. Do this and your presentation will flow. Your message will stick, and you’ll enhance your chances to leave a lasting impact.


How To Capture And Keep Listener Interest From Start To Finish

The biggest challenge for any presenter is attracting and keeping audience interest.

The way to do this is to use a proven and repeatable framework, do you have one available?

If you don’t have one, what should you do?

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