We’ve all sat through long and boring speeches or presentations. We go on a mental vacation and think about what we want to eat for lunch. Maybe we start writing a grocery list in our heads? We’d rather be anywhere but here. Why? Not only is it not a perfect speech, but the speaker’s approach is far from perfect.
In many instances, we are bored because the speaker…
a. doesn’t know how to edit himself
b. didn’t take the time to organize her thoughts
c. doesn’t really have command of his subject matter
Perfect Speech Preps
Perfect speeches require lots of preparation and practice. They need to be carefully researched and thought out. Each point and counterpoint needs to be weighed. And most importantly, perfect speeches need to be edited! Everyone knows it is much harder to give a cogent five-minute speech than it is to ramble in front of an audience for an hour.
That’s why I was so impressed with a speaker that I stumbled upon last week.
Example of Perfect Speech
It was an unusually warm day in Chicago in March. (It was 80 degrees Fahrenheit.) As such, the older church was more than a little warm. It was also the day after St. Patrick’s and many people looked a little worse for wear.
When it came time for the sermon, the priest, reading his audience very well, started with a joke. It was well told and got a big laugh from the congregation. He held his audience in the palm of his hand.
Next, he said that he was taking a little survey. “Would anyone object if, on this warm day, I cut to the chase with my homily?”
Seeing no hands, he said, “Great. We’re in agreement.”
“The Irish are great poets, so in honor of St. Patrick’s Day I thought I’d tell you a little poem.”
He went on to deliver about eight lines of poetry—written by him—that perfectly summed up his message.
When the priest was finished, people turned to each other and smiled. There were more than a few nods of understanding. Almost everyone seemed to beam at him with looks of admiration and gratitude.
In approximately four minutes the priest told a joke, got the audience on his side and delivered his message successfully and succinctly. In short, it was the perfect speech.