Speak Clearly

Erica Katz

Effective speeches start with a clear objective—learn to find your big idea.

Public speaking can be super scary for many. One way to make the whole process easier is by being confident in your message. Duh, right? But how do you make that happen? It’s not like you can simply Captain Picard it “Make it so” and instantly be more confident. But what you can do is write your speech with focus. Here’s how:

Find your big idea

A memorable speech is one that says something people are interested in. And that starts with a big idea. Rambling and talking in circular clichés isn’t going to entertain or inform your audience. When you are brainstorming about your big idea, a good starting point is your area of expertise. Next, broaden your focus by thinking about either what drives you crazy about that topic or something from your experience that has inspired you.

Sum up your focus

Organizations have an elevator speech to quickly and concisely explain what they do. The same holds true for a great speech. You should be able to summarize your message into a single sentence. Everything else you say in your speech should come back to this idea. If it doesn’t, it shouldn’t be in your speech.

Say it in triplicate

Finally, to ensure that people truly register what your big idea is say it three times. Start by stating what you are going to be talking about—this is your single sentence message. Then the bulk of your speech will reinforce this topic, basically guiding the audience through the information that backs up your summary. At the end of your speech, conclude by reiterating one more time your big idea.


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