As a speaker, regardless what you are speaking about, you are a messenger of change.
This is because you need to convince your audience why they need to listen to you and adopt your viewpoint. To do this effectively, you need to craft your speech in a way that answers four questions that people in your audience will naturally have about your topic.
Question 1: Why is your subject matter important? You could be speaking about the topic of leadership, the latest IFRS standard, or the state of potholes in your area – it does not matter what your topic is about. Use facts, quoted figures, statistics, stories and research to convince your audience that your subject matter is important.
Question 2: Why is your subject matter important to them? While your audience might agree that your subject is important, they might not listen to you any further as you have not provided them with enough reasons as to why it affects them.
Talk about the challenges of your subject matter; the negative impact it could have if left unattended, including any financial costs and social drawbacks to the individuals in your audience. Remember to use the word ‘You’ and not ‘You all’. ‘You’ is more personal and direct; ‘You all’ is general. Example: ‘Potholes do affect you’ and not ‘Potholes affect you all’.
Question 3: Why is your subject important now? Your audience might agree that the subject of fixing potholes is important and it definitely affects them – but why does it have to be fixed now? In this part of your talk explain why the timing is important to be addressed now, immediately or within the short term.
If you do not create a sense of urgency, there is no need to listen to you any further.
Question 4: Why are you credible to speak on this subject? This is the most critical part of your talk! Your personal experience at dealing with the problem and finding a solution to it will make you credible as a speaker. You can create a connection with your audience by sharing the story of your personal struggle regarding your topic and how you overcame it.
Author: Dineshrie Pillay CA(SA) is a business owner and public speaker trainer