Articles in category: Speechwriting

How many truly memorable speeches have you delivered?

The art of creating a memorable speech is something that is often sought after, but rarely achieved. Frustratingly, many people assume that truly memorable speeches are reserved for those with an elusive “born with it” skill set.

In reality, nobody is born with the skills for public speaking, but you can develop them with hard work. A memorable speech is within your grasp. With that in mind, let’s review nine tips that will make your speech memorable for your audience.

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You may think that you are a sensible, rational thinker. You likely believe that you’re open-minded, objective, and someone who sees the world as it is.

Unfortunately, your brain is playing mind games with you.

In reality, while you are incredibly intelligent, you’re susceptible to a swarm of cognitive biases which constantly pull you toward irrational thoughts and judgments.

This article is the first of the Cognitive Bias series — a collection of articles which examine cognitive biases, describe how they impact you and your audience, and explore practical strategies you can use in response.

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Researching your speech topic is easy, right? Just fire up a web browser, put in your search terms, check a few pages, and you’re done… right?

Hm. Probably not. It would be nice if 100% of our speech content came from our own minds or a few quick Google searches. In reality, though, conducting proper research requires a little more care. The rewards make the effort worthwhile; a well-researched speech provides lasting value for your audience and distinguishes you as speaker.

In this article, we:

  • discover how to embrace a research mindset,
  • provide simple strategies that will improve your research habits, and
  • discuss numerous resources which you can leverage to craft a winning speech.

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What quality is vital to virtually all creative art forms, including literature, music, painting, sculpture, photography, drama, and speechwriting?

What quality both sharpens the attention of your audience and makes them understand you better?


In this article, we’ll define contrast, explore its benefits, and examine many strategies for using contrast in your next presentation.

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Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History (edited by William Safire) will provide you with hours of speechwriting inspiration.

Every serious speaker should own a speech anthology, and Lend Me Your Ears is arguably the best.

This article is one of a series of public speaking book reviews from Six Minutes.

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There are many ways to organize your presentation. The choices you make seriously impact the success of your presentation.

If you order your material in an intuitive manner that your audience can readily understand, they are more likely to be persuaded.

If you order your material in an awkward manner, your audience will struggle to understand, and they will resist being persuaded by your message.

Given the criticality of your presentation sequence, how do you choose the right one for your topic and your audience?

In this article, we:

  • survey the available sequence types,
  • give examples of presentations which fit each scheme, and
  • discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.

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If you could easily highlight key messages in your speech, would you do it?

If there were a simple way to be more memorable, would you do it?

If you could craft speech phrases that are more quotable, would you do it?

Epiphora is the key to spicing up your speechwriting. In this article, we define epiphora, cite several famous examples, and help you add this rhetorical device to your speechwriting toolbox.

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Presentation Patterns: Techniques for Crafting Better Presentations uses an innovative format to illuminate the elements shared by strong presentations and the habits shared by strong presenters.

The authors — Neal Ford, Matthew McCullough, and Nathaniel Schutta — are highly experienced conference presenters with a knack for exposing the truth in presentations around us.

This article is one of a series of public speaking book reviews from Six Minutes.

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Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark will help you communicate better, whether writing speeches, reports, handouts, or articles.

As I breezed through Writing Tools, I confessed to my wife that I felt inspired to write. Thus, the book achieved the rare feat of delivering on the promise of the front cover review (from the Boston Globe): “Writers will be inspired to pick up their pens.”

This article is one of a series of public speaking book reviews from Six Minutes.

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Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play.
— Immanuel Kant

There are many types of bad speakers, and this article is about two of them:

  1. Speakers who bury audiences in an avalanche of data without providing the significance.
  2. Speakers who discuss theories and ideals, completely detached from real-world practicalities.

Both of these speakers fail because they don’t understand the ladder of abstraction.

In this article, we define the ladder of abstraction, give several examples, and explore why it is important for all speakers. Then, we explore specific strategies that you can apply to improve the balance and understanding in your presentations.

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The signature of a persuasive speech is a clear call-to-action.

Yet many speakers miss a fantastic opportunity with a call-to-action that is wishy-washy, hypothetical, or ill-constructed. Even worse, some speakers omit the call-to-action entirely.

A poor call-to-action undermines the effectiveness of your speech; a great call-to-action stirs your audience to act enthusiastically.

In this article, we reveal the qualities of a strong speech call-to-action which will lead your audience to act.

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