“I Have a Dream….”
A line familiar to many, taken from a famous speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Taken from Dr. King’s famous “March on Washington” address on August 28, 1963, this phrase has become iconic with people looking for a better, brighter, and more tolerant future.
Although seemingly an insignificant collection of words, this phrase and the speech it was used in have been a driving force behind those campaigning for freedom and fundamental human rights. Words can be a powerful driving force, and as a business owner, a CEO, or a manager, you too need to find the right words that motivate and boost your employees’ morale.
A good leader knows how to inspire their followers using the power of words. and what better way to do that, than through a strong speech that inspires action? Using a mix of proper structuring and planning, hard-hitting content, and eloquent delivery, you can guarantee that your next speech will influence your audience to act the way you desire.
The Three W’s to Writing a Great Inspirational Speech
When answering the question “How to write a speech?”, the first step is to study the three W’s – why, who, and what. Once you find the answer to these questions, it’ll help you develop a speech that will resonate with your listeners.
Each of these three W’s, asks a few questions designed to help us figure out:
- Why am I writing this speech?
- Why will my followers listen to my speech?
- Who is my ideal audience?
- Who will I be representing on the dais?
- What message is my speech meant to portray?
- What would my listeners like and expect to hear in my speech?
The questions listed above cover the most important aspects required for a leader to write a speech that connects with their followers.
Writing a Speech That Inspires Your Followers
Writing an effective speech as a leader is about two factors – making sure that the audience remembers the key points of your address, and that your words motivate them into working towards your expected action. Essentially, it is your job as a leader to ensure that your speech is exciting and structured well enough to keep the listener’s attention.
Let’s look at a few ways you can influence your listeners and inspire them through your speech.
- Find Out What Attracts Your Listeners
To understand what attracts your listeners, you need to discover their likes and dislikes. A good motivational or inspirational speech informs, educates, and, most importantly, influences its audience. If you cannot fulfill these needs, you will fail to connect with your audience.
To create a strong copy for your speech, you need to find out what speaks to your audience. To do that, you need to understand your audience’s personality and write your speech accordingly.
Moreover, it would help if you found out where and how your speech will be shared online to structure your content in a way that will help you connect with all your audience.
- Use Stories to Drive Your Message Home
Audiences today are easily distracted due to a short attention span averaging 8 seconds. Raw data and facts tend to confuse them, which quickly turns to boredom. It results in your listeners missing the point of your speech, wasting both their and your valuable time. As someone looking to inspire, having little to no impact on your address is something you want to avoid at all costs.
To make your speech engaging, use stories and anecdotes. This will help your audience remember a large portion of that information, as the stories help them relate to the speech better. In fact, a few motivational speakers and life coaches guide their followers with personal stories and anecdotes.
To find good stories to drive your points home, talk to your followers and observe them learn stories that can help you convey your message more effectively. Tony Robbins and Gary Vaynerchuk are great personal branding examples who have built a brand around helping people through their life experiences.
- Structure Your Content Appropriately
A speech is quite different from an article or an essay. Unlike a report, the most critical sections in a speech are the beginning and the end. These two sections of a speech are those where your audience pays the most attention. So if you want to leave your audience with some key takeaways, this is where they need to go.
Moreover, speech focuses on the natural flow of language. So while you still need to be careful about the grammar and syntax of your content in an address, you can be a little versatile in structuring your speech according to your oratory style or the level of passion required for the topic.
Short sentences, everyday phrases and words, and easy-to-follow flow are the hallmarks of good speech. Studies suggest that a speechwriter needs to dedicate at least 70% of their time writing and structuring their content to ensure that the audience likes it.
- Ensure That the Speech Embodies Your Passion
An inspirational speech that motivates your followers into action is all about passion. Your audience will quickly pick up on the energy you exude during the speech, and will respond accordingly. If your words lack passion, then you cannot expect the audience to respond to them.
Speak from the heart using simple words, add personal touches like your life stories to connect with the audience, and connect with your audience on a personal level. This will humanize you and the issue you are defending and make them more sympathetic to your perspective.
- Keep Your Speech Short and To-the-point
A good speech that makes an impact is short and goes straight to the point. It ensures that your audience remembers the majority of what you say, thus maximizing the impact and efficiency of your words.
An average speech uses short phrases and relies on passion and strategic pauses to get its point across. Essentially, this can be one of the most challenging tasks, as you need to portray your point sufficiently while being concise.
To eliminate filler content from your speech, you need to be your own harshest critic. You need to eliminate everything that doesn’t add value to the message of the address to reduce the bulk of irrelevant content that a listener might be exposed to.
Giving Your Speech
No matter how great a speech you write, it’ll only have the intended impact if you deliver it properly. The first thing to do to ensure a good delivery is to practice, practice, practice. This will help you remember the focal points of your speech, which will aid you in conveying those points successfully—moreover, this way, you will need to consult your notes sparingly, boosting your speech’s authority.
Secondly, deliver your speech in front of a mirror to know your body language. Visual cues are essential in helping a listener pay attention. If you give a powerful speech, yet your body language is one of nervousness and confusion, then the audience will be able to pick up on that, and your message would not make the impact you intended.
Many people today are scared of speaking in front of an audience. But if you focus on the two tips above, you will focus on delivering your message without worrying about what the audience thinks of you.
Other Duties as a Leader
Remember, as a leader, you will be required to speak at various events. Your employees may ask you to speak at their weddings, or you may be asked to speak at a funeral. If you follow the simple guidelines listed above, you will be able to adapt them to all manners of speech.
All you would need to do is look up what goes into that specific speech. There are many inspirational addresses, wedding toasts, and eulogy examples available online, which will help you understand the structure.
Ready to Deliver Your Speech?
Before you start writing your speech to inspire your employees, we suggest listening to some of the best orators from history, such as Dr. King, John F. Kennedy, and others like them. Besides being efficient speakers, they were highly effective leaders who inspired and motivated hundreds of thousands to millions of people. Doing so will help you understand how to capture your audience’s attention and get them to act the way you want, an essential skill for any business leader.