Quick and Dirty Speech Making – Part 2

Learn how to create an engaging and interesting speech in six steps. Part 2.

Lisa B. Marshall
5-minute read

So following my example…I would say

I’m Lisa, John’s wife.

As John requested, we’re here to celebrate life and to share our memories of him.

I’d like to share with you three simple words, three words that for me, describe John--motivated, compassionate, and strong-willed.

The reason I had you choose three adjectives (and not two or four) is because of the rule of three. The rule of three suggests that things in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or even more effective than other numbers of things. We often hear this rule in slogans, for example you might remember "A Mars a day helps you to work, rest, and play" or remember the advice you were given as a kid, ”Stop, look, and listen” before you cross the street, or in fires to “Stop, drop, and roll.”

Many things are structured in threes, like movie trilogies (The Godfather Trilogy) or speeches, with a beginning, middle, and end. Of course there’s also the three musketeers, three little pigs, and many more examples.

Of course, now that you know the rule, you’ll notice it all the time. One other thing to keep in mind--when you organize your three adjectives, put your strongest choice last, and the weakest choice in the middle. And when you deliver your talk, be sure to talk about them in the same order you just arranged them.

Now you just need to complete the ending. On the piece of paper where you wrote “ending”, just write this:

Today, I wanted to share with you a few words about T (T being your topic) and I hope that through these three simple words, X, Y, and Z (your adjectives) you now know more than when I started.

Finally, depending on the occasion and the topic you might want to add a very brief toast, a blessing, or a prayer.

Step Six – Deliver the Talk

Speeches are about sharing ideas and concepts. These are intangible and many times difficult for the audience to grasp. The main idea of this quick and dirty approach is to make the invisible visible through the stories, the definitions, and the examples.

When it’s time to deliver the speech, organize your five main papers in the correct order. Tell them your beginning, and move the middle by stating the first adjective, describing your definition, and moving onto your story. Continue with your speech using the second and third adjectives.

It’s very important that you don’t read your notes directly. Talk to your audience; talk as if you are having a conversation with one single person. Tell the stories as if you are sitting at the dinner table. Let your natural feelings show. Your audience will remember your three key messages through the adjectives, definitions, and most importantly, the related stories that you share.

The next time you are asked to give a speech, you can relax. Last week you learned the first three steps, this week you learned, Step Four: refining your stories, Step Five: pulling it all together, and Step Six: delivering your speech. Now you know the Public Speaker’s quick and dirty six-step technique for making a sincere, interesting, and engaging presentation. I encourage you to give it try. And, hey, don’t forget to come back and tell us how it went!

This is the Lisa B. Marshall. Passionate about communication your success is my business.

If you have a question, send email to publicspeaker@quickanddirtytips.com. For information about keynote speeches or workshops visit lisabmarshall.com.

Speech image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.