Make A Speech Memorable

Let’s get down to business. How can you make it easier for your audience to remember your speech? The most important thing you’ll need to do is capture their imagination.

To get started, think about a movie or book that has stayed with you over the years. Great writers and film makers know how to grab your attention and keep you on the edge of your seat. How do they do it?

The Intro: Memorable books and films grab you from the very first sentence or opening scene. There is a mystery that captures your imagination.  Take a look at the opening scene from Jaws, for example.

In this case, it’s the sudden death of a beautiful girl swimming in the ocean. The cause of the death is not seen in the introduction, but it will become clear and take center stage in the movie. The audience wants to know what happened to her and whether it can be stopped.

When you take the stage, it’s best to avoid the traditional self-introduction. The people attending your presentation already know who you are.

If need be, have the person who introduces you establish your credibility, or have that background information available in a handout as people come in. It’s your job to grab their attention with a startling, profound, funny, or otherwise engaging beginning, or hook.

The Hook: Writers and screenwriters have a central story, or idea, to share. They have chosen to spend a great deal of time and money and physical, and emotional labor to tell you about it. They believe it’s important and worth the effort. What is your central idea? What do you want your audience to walk away knowing, believing, or doing? Do you believe in the idea yourself? Why?

The Audience: Writers know their audience. With some exceptions, movies and books are targeted at a very specific audience.

They know what their audience cares about and what will inspire them. They use this knowledge to inform the creative choices they make when presenting the story. Who is your audience and what inspires them?

The Sequence: All stories have a beginning, middle and end. Some storytellers choose to move in chronological order, while others have flashbacks, prequels, sequels, and or an afterword.

Think about what order will have the most impact. Is there a surprising ending that can be told first, followed by the backstory? Or is chronological a better order? What would be most engaging from your audience’s perspective?

The Spice: Visuals are like spice. They add something special to your speech. But if over-utilized, they will drown out the central message.

Limit your visual to no more than one new one every ten minutes. Like great passages in books and films, they make ideal transition markers between important points. Make the image bold and keep the words on the screen to a minimum.

The Wrap: Both your introduction and conclusion should comprise about 15% each of your speech. You’ve spent a lot of time on your presentation and want people to leave with something memorable. This is the time to conclude the story you were telling, present a call to action, remind the audience of your central point, or wow them with a compelling quote or testimony. Go out strong!

Finally, remember that the attendees came to hear you. This already give you an edge. Take that as your starting point and make the rest happen by doing the work ahead of time to engage your audience with a memorable speech. Try using some of these tips the next time you are invited to speak and let me know how it went.

What are some of your favorite ways to make a speech memorable? I would love to hear them!

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Hooking Your Audience

Hooking your audience is key to drawing them in and holding their attention. A hook is a crucial part of your speech consisting of your opening words that serves to prick the ears of the audience and make them want to hear more.

If you get your presentation off on the right foot, you’ll have a much better chance of holding your listeners’ attention to the end.

The Best Bait for the Job

There are many ways to grab your audience’s attention.

  • – You can surprise them with a fact they probably don’t know: “Did you know that pigs are physically incapable of looking up at the sky while standing?” That could apply to a speech about thinking outside of the box or one that seemingly has nothing to do with your subject until you fill them in.
  • – You can use a story to reel them in. Telling a great story gets people interested in your point of view and makes them want to hear more about how the story ties in to your presentation. In the video below Martin Presse talks about how to do this effectively. A story also serves as a great takeaway that, when done well, is easy to remember and helps your audience remember what you said long after your speech is over.



  • – You can share a personal experience. Tell the audience something about yourself that they can relate to. Perhaps something specific happened in your life that brought you to where you are now. Share that with your audience as a way of illustrating that you understand their situation because you have lived it yourself and have some wisdom to share now.
  • – You can ask for audience involvement. “Imagine a world where…” Getting people to participate by thinking draws them in and makes them feel like they are a part of your presentation. It also provides a great touchstone for your wrap up. You can refer back to your opening after talking about how your product or idea can help make that world a reality for them.
  • – You can use a proverb. Foreign proverbs are especially useful because many people will not have heard them before.

Practice Reeling Them In

Look back at the opening of one of your previous speeches and think about how you can improve it. Practice adding a proverb or a story or mine the Internet for an interesting but little-known fact about something you can tie in to your speech.

Or get ready for an upcoming speech using one of these techniques.

Think about the kind of impact you want to have on your audience when choosing a technique. Do you want them motivated to a specific action? Try sharing personal experience or asking for their involvement.

Be sure to let me know it went! Want more great tips for hooking your audience? Sign up for my weekly email tips to sharpen your speaking skills in the public arena!

Also leave me a comment to share your thoughts on this post.

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