A CEO Shares Her Top Tips for Delivering Memorable Speech

Lauren Powell

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Whether it’s for a presentation to colleagues, a maid of honour speech at your best friend’s wedding, or an address at a family occasion, speeches are something we’ll all encounter during life’s course—to some people’s excitement and others' dismay.

And as speech-making is somewhat of a performing art (there’s certainly a knack to keeping an audience entertained while delivering an important message) we’ll happily take all of the advice, suggestions, and guidance we can get. Business Insider Australia enlisted the expertise of Lucy Perry, CEO of Sunrise Cambodia (one of the best not-for-profit bosses in the world) and exceptional speaker, to find out her best secrets for delivering a killer speech. Read on and make an impression the next time you’re addressing a crowd.

Speak in three-minute blocks

“My speeches have been dissected and it turns out that I speak in three-minute blocks. That’s the average length of a song and the attention span of your audience for one topic. If your speech is 30 minutes long you have ten sections to fill: Your introduction, conclusion and eight points in between.”

Memorise your content

“It’s that simple. Know your content off by heart. Your notes should be one key phrase for each three-minute section. Never ever read to your audience or they will start fiddling with their phones.

Keep up pace

“Put your energy into keeping a nice high pace. Move from one concept to the next, fast. Don’t waste time or words with segues. Don’t hide behind the lectern, instead use the stage to focus on different parts of the audience and hold their attention.”

Use humour

“No one remembers a boring speech. But no speaker wants to deliver a flat joke either. Practice your humour in conversations and if people laugh at your jokes your audience will too.”

Tell stories

“Stories are the glue in your speech. It’s the stories that people will remember and re-tell. Keep them brief and on point.”

Nail the ending

“Either end your speech with the most heart-stopping story in your arsenal, or make a brief summary of your whole speech in one sentence and refer back to the hero story of your speech. You and your audience have been through something together and referring back to a now familiar story completes the journey and binds you together.”

For more tips on how to deliver a memorable speech, head to Business Insider Australia and shop How to Write and Give a Speech ($19).

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