Ever listen to speech that had you scratching your head and asking, “What was that supposed to be about?” Are you guilty of giving this very same speech? What’s going on here?
Every speech has some point to it. The question is: what’s the point? Once you discover that, you can quickly determine whether or not you have a good speech.
So, What Is the Point?
When you are developing a speech, what is your motivation? Typical answers for me seem to revolve around the fact that I, as the instructor, have assigned the speech to the student. That’s the only motivation. This may be true for someone in the workforce asked to present a report before a board committee.
If that’s the case, more often than not, the point will be: to get through the speech as quickly as possible!
With that as the point of the speech, the audience is not a consideration. The result will be a speech that will at best slightly bore a polite audience. They will ask themselves, “What was the point of that?” Of course, you already know the answer… and maybe they do, too.
Service with a Smile
We could probably list several other points (such as a need for attention, though that might be a bit rare), but the true point of giving a speech has to be centered on the audience.
We speak to an audience to provide something of value to the audience.
Giving an informative speech? The point is to provide useful information for the audience? Trying to persuade them? The point is to change the audience for their improvement (or else provide valid reasons for change to benefit the audience). Giving a toast or a commemorative speech? The point is to make the occasion feel special for the audience.
I think you get the idea. It’s all about them.
A Better Question, A Better Way
So, maybe a better question to ask is not “What’s the point?” but rather, “Who’s the point?”
Make it about them. Make it for them. That’s the point.