“Help! I have to give a speech. What do I do?” my business colleague asked me.
Business people are asked frequently to speak in front of a group. New authors
must speak to organizations and businesses so that they can promote their books.
Speaking in front of an audience can be scary if it is new to you. The following four
simple steps will help you plan and prepare your next speech.
The four elements used to prepare your speech are:
- The creative idea
- The attention getting opening
- The purposeful body
- The powerful close/conclusion/climax
Now let’s take a deeper look at the four elements and visualize a hamburger
sandwich as we go through the parts.
1. The creative idea. (The planning and preparation of the hamburger.)
- Identify and know your topic clearly. Choose something you know real well.
- Choose a subject that appeals to your audience’s mind, emotions, and senses.
- Write down the conclusion you want to reach.
- Once you have all of the above information, you are ready to prepare your
2. The opening. (Top hamburger bun.)
- Catch immediate attention. Open with a question, some startling
statement, or a fact that will catch your audience’s attention.
- Arouse your audience’s interest with your opening statement.
- Tell them the purpose of your speech. Many times inexperienced
speakers ramble on and the audience doesn’t know where the speaker is going with
- Let them know early the purpose of your speech and the
audience will follow you just like they would follow the ball players in a baseball
3. The body. (The meat of the hamburger.)
- Contains support for your purpose. Present your first key point and
have your supporting information following-usually 2-3 supporting ideas under
each key point. Do this with every point and you will not get lost. Just remember
that you are working on the “meat (middle) of the hamburger.” Use three key points
for every 15 minutes. This is a good way to measure your time.
- Include stories, personal experiences, examples and anecdotes when
- Include facts, proof, or rebuttal of opposing views.
- Use visual aids (handouts, overheads, slides, video, etc.) when
appropriate to help your audience remember your points. But don’t overdo it. If
you use lots of visuals then your audience will remember the visuals and not you.
Unless it is a technical presentation use visuals only when you feel it is needed to
reach a point.
4. The powerful close/conclusion/climax. (Bottom bun.)
- Tie in the ending with your opening. Take a look at your opening
again and here is where you will tie it in to the ending. Your audience will
remember this. Make it a well-remembered ending.
- Finish forcefully and confidently. That doesn’t mean shout. It means
get your point across with confidence. That you know it and believe it.
- May be the only thing the audience remembers. That’s right. After
hours of planning and preparing your speech and honing it down to a 15, 30 or 45-
minute presentation, your conclusion/close/climax may be the only thing the
audience remembers so make it memorable.
The next time you have to give a speech remember the “hamburger sandwich
approach.” It is an easy way to remember the parts of your speech. If you follow
the tips here your audience will love you. Do not memorize your speech. Use an
outline or keywords while giving your speech. Speak from the heart. If you miss
something the audience will not know it-just keep on going. Always remember to
end your speech on time or earlier-they will love you and REMEMBER you for it.