Tonight at the Republican National Convention will be a night of speechifying.
In today's highly-visual, multi-media saturated world many people believe that public speaking is not that important anymore.
These people are wrong.
The fact is that public speaking is just as powerful, if not more powerful than ever before.
Why is this so?
There are several reasons:
1) Public speaking is “in the moment.” It happens live, in front of a live audience.
2) Public speaking is powerful because the spoken word is powerful. It's been proven time and again that live, spoken words can change people’s minds and even move them to action.
3) Public speaking is focused speech. Every good speech has a theme. The theme is the central idea of the speech. It’s the core of what the speaker wants people to remember.
4) If the speaker can’t express the theme of the speech in one, good solid sentence, he/she doesn’t have a theme; the theme is the central idea. If you watch a speech tonight and you can't say what the speech is about in one sentence after you've heard it, then it wasn't a good speech.
5) Every good speech has a purpose. The purpose is what the speaker wants the audience to think, feel, or do after you’ve delivered the speech.
6) The purpose is what the speaker is saying. The theme is why the speaker is saying it.
7) Every good speech has a clear beginning. This brief beginning is where the speaker makes a vital link with the audience. The speaker “shakes hands with the audience.” He/she takes the first step to gain their attention and get them on his/her side.
8) The middle of the speech is the “stuff” of the speech. This is the longest part. It’s the main message and it contains the central idea. Two or three main points (and some secondary points, evidence, back-up arguments, etc.) can be presented in this part of the speech depending on the length (time) of the speech.
9) The end or conclusion of the speech is where the speaker summarizes, repeats his/her main point, inspires the audience or calls them to action. This is a relatively short part of the speech but it’s also one of the hardest parts to pull off.
10) The speaker must be organized and you must know his/her audience before delivering a speech: Who are we speaking to? How long will we speak? Why are we speaking to this audience? How will we gain their attention? What do we want them to remember? What do we want them to think, feel or do when we have concluded our remarks? And here’s one other thing: To be believable as a speaker, you must be yourself. You must be real, natural, and comfortable as you address the audience.
These are the essential elements of public speaking.
This is what determines the success of a speech, or lack thereof.
Keep all this in mind when you watch the speeches at the convention tonight.