5 ways to make your public speaking memorable

Business owners are often called to speak, but many are not prepared...Check out these simple steps that will prepare your speech for success.



Dr. Amera McCoy

Every day, individuals seek guidance on effective public speaking strategies. Standing in front of an audience can evoke fear and anxiety for some, while others find it exhilarating. Fear and anxiety may cause individuals to shut down, stutter, or forget their speech, while those propelled by a rush might rush through a three-minute presentation in just 30 seconds. In both cases, the audience is left confused, flustered, or cringing. Public speaking can instill fear even in the most confident individuals, making the key to delivering a persuasive speech a combination of personality and setting.

How many speeches do you remember for their content versus the speaker's unique personality? Personalities that shine through their clothing, like Steve Jobs, or their dramatic pauses, like Martin Luther King Jr., leave a lasting impact. Some of the most famous speeches are remembered because of the setting and the speaker's ability to command attention. Think of Jobs on the iconic Apple stage or King Jr. at the National Mall – the setting and personalities were the ingredients of a memorable speech.


Let's consider the national anthem; sung by different artists over the years at various venues, Whitney Houston's rendition stands out. Why? Well, one could argue the timing of her anthem was perfect, second, it's Whitney and as expected she came prepared and delivered! The advantage of the anthem lies in its beat, allowing the singer to stay on time, but even with this advantage, many artist still forget the words.

So, how do you make your speech stand out amid fear, anxiety, and rush? Here are a few tips:

1. Place: 
  - Choose a meaningful space when possible. 
  - Leverage control over the setting to enhance your speech. 
  - Consider lighting, microphone placement, and the podium's impact on your delivery style.

2. Personality: 
  - Check if your outfit reflects your personality. 
  - Assess whether your speech requires standing or if sitting would enhance audience connection.


3. Smile and Joke: 
  - Lighten the mood with friendly banter. 
  - Use an early icebreaker, like a joke or a relatable remark, to ease tension.

4. Laugh: 
  - Embrace mistakes with laughter and correct them on the spot. 
  - Maintain a positive attitude, making mishaps forgettable.

5. Speak Your Truth: 
  - Share why you are passionate about the topic. 
  - Relate numbers to your audience, explaining why they should care.


In conclusion, every speech may have critics, but authenticity is universally respected. Be yourself, flaws and all. Consider the setting, always prepare, and practice diligently. Remember to pace yourself, project your voice, and exude personality during your speech. A combination of these elements will contribute to a memorable and powerful delivery. Words are made potent by the person delivering them, so consider yourself powerful, and your message worthy. Speak the words that tell the story you aim to share.

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