Articles in category: Speechwriting

You can’t give the speech of your life until you first give life to your speeches.

One way to breathe life into your speeches is to craft memorable phrases that will linger on the lips of your audience, and a great tool to help you achieve this goal is chiasmus.

In this article, we define what chiasmus is, study several famous (and not-so-famous) chiasmus examples, and give some tips for crafting chiasmus into your own speeches.

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A rhetorical question is a common rhetorical device where a question is asked by a speaker, but no answer is expected from the audience. This distinguishes it from explicit verbal audience interaction where a speaker asks a question, and then waits for a response or calls on someone to answer it.

You are certainly aware of this technique, but are you aware that you can use a rhetorical question in at least nine different ways? No? Read on!

This article identifies nine ways to use rhetorical questions, and provides examples throughout.

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When you think about charisma, who do you think about? Bill Clinton? Martin Luther King Jr.? Steve Jobs?

What about you? Do you have charisma?

Many speakers and non-speakers hold the belief that charisma is an innate gift — either you are born with it, or you aren’t.

But can you learn charisma? Recent research suggests that you can!

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Full-day training courses offer many challenges for speakers, including:

  • massive preparation requirements;
  • physical and mental fatigue (for both the speaker and audience); and
  • maintaining interest requires dynamic delivery and varied presentation techniques.

If you can overcome these challenges, you can provide significant value for your audience.

This past week, I was fortunate to attend a series of full-day training courses (Usability Week 2012 in San Francisco, offered by the Nielsen Norman Group). While my focus was building my usability knowledge, it was also a great opportunity to learn from people who speak regularly around the world. One of these speakers was Marieke McCloskey, who taught my first session of the week.

This article offers 28 tips for designing and presenting training courses inspired by Marieke’s strengths and areas for improvement.

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Every speech does not need quotations, but every speaker needs to know why, how, and when to use quotations in their speeches.

In this article, we examine eight benefits of using quotations in your speech, and then discuss twenty-one tips for superpowering your speech with effective quotes.

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Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences is the second book from presentation superhero Nancy Duarte.

It is also the second book of hers which I strongly recommend you read — immediately.

This article is the latest of a series of public speaking book reviews here on Six Minutes.

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What if your speeches were more quotable?

What if your speeches were more powerful?

What if your speeches were more memorable?

Anaphora can do this for you. In this article, we examine how strategic use of repetition can elevate your speechwriting.

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This article reviews a thought-provoking speech by Dan Pink about the surprising science of motivation, which was delivered at TED in 2009.

Pink delivers a masterful speech which demonstrates many strong speech techniques, including:

  • A powerful opening, which establishes a framework utilized throughout;
  • Building of ethos and logos;
  • Well-timed use of humor;
  • Employing contrast and the rule of three;
  • Powerful conclusion; and
  • Superb delivery.

The strength of this speech isn’t surprising at all, given Pink’s former role as chief speechwriter for Al Gore.

This is the latest in a series of speech critiques here on Six Minutes.

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This article is part of the 12 Days of Ask Six Minutes.
This event is over now, but you can send your questions anytime.

Keith Kennedy asks:

At my Toastmasters meeting last night, one of the speech evaluators recommended that the speaker should “bookend her speech”. I’ve never heard that term before. What does it mean, and is it something you recommend?

In this article, we’ll define what it means to bookend your speech, and give a set of tips for exercising this wonderful technique.

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This article is part of the 12 Days of Ask Six Minutes.
This event is over now, but you can send your questions anytime.

Several readers sent in questions related to impromptu speeches, including Matthias K.:

I’m pretty comfortable when I have days or even weeks to prepare a speech, but I REALLY struggle when I’m asked to speak at a moment’s notice. Do you have any tips for impromptu speaking?

In this article, you’ll find a set of tips that will make you shine the next time you are asked to speak on the spur of the moment.

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This article is part of the 12 Days of Ask Six Minutes.
This event is over now, but you can send your questions anytime.

Has this ever happened to you?

You’ve discovered a fascinating statistic that clinches your persuasive argument. You save it for your last point, and deliver it clearly. You expect a wave of emotion to hit your audience, but…

Nothing. Your audience doesn’t react at all. Do they not get it?

If this sounds familiar, then you are not alone. A Six Minutes subscriber, Akiko Takeshita, sends this question via email:

I wonder if you have any advice for working statistics into a speech. Sometimes it works for me, but I often feel like the audience isn’t impacted by the statistic when the statistic seems very powerful to me. What am I doing wrong?

In this article, we examine the importance of using statistics in your speech, and how to do so effectively.

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