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The Perfect Formula for Your Speech

Rotary club speaker

I’ve given quite a few speeches. Some have gone well, and some haven’t (I try to block those out).

My favorite speeches have been of the post-meal variety to a civic group (think Rotary club lunch).

I have a formula I use, and it nearly always works.

Here’s the deal:

I plan a 1,000-second speech (that’s 16 and 2/3 minutes), which is just about right to communicate my message without boring people. I’d rather keep it short than run long and wear out my welcome.

I break the 1,000 seconds into five equal 200-second parts.

The first 200 seconds is devoted to introducing myself and introducing the three points I’m going to make. I like to throw in a few jokes.

The second, third, and fourth 200-second segments are devoted to the three points. I start each of the segments with a story lasting about 100 seconds and then use the remaining 100 seconds to explain the point in more detail.

I wrap up with a 200 second conclusion bringing the three stories/points together.

That’s it: 1,000 seconds, and I’m out of there. This formula has always helped me keep the speech in perspective and keep it organized in my head. Try it the next time you give a speech: 1,000 seconds could be the key to your success.

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  • http://twitter.com/phishnet Phish.net

    If you’re writing it out, how many words is that?   That’s easier than seconds for me to conceptualize.

    • http://divorcediscourse.com Lee Rosen

      I’d say about 100ish words per minute. So, 1600-1700 words on average.


  • http://www.johnsonparrislaw.com/ Afi Johnson-Parris

    Lee Rosen to the rescue right on time.  I’m writing a speech on customer service for the NCA&T staff senate meeting tomorrow and I’m struggling (procrastination notwithstanding).  Thank you many times over!

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