"How Should I Tell Them..."
point, you should know what you're going to say - you've
got the message of the speech pinned, and you've got a
nice outline of ideas, items (research or quotes, for
example), and views that you want to include. But
the speech isn't written yet, oh no! It's amazing
how little the actual content of the speech does to keep
an audience's attention. In that light, there are
quite a few devices that can be used to intrigue the
audience, shock and amuse them, keep them thinking
about you and your speech, but most of all just keep
- Unconventional Treatment - An audience
usually thinks it knows what it's getting into.
If they're going to hear a speech about some
charitable cause, they expect to be persuaded that the
cause is grand and its effects far-reaching. If
it's a reunion speech, they expect fond memories &
humorous happenings of times past. If the speech
is at all educational, they expect to be presented
with a straight-forward declaration of facts, causes,
and effects. Borrrrr-ing! Do
something they aren't expecting. Satire works
very well here - if anyone's read Jonathan Swift's A
Modest Proposal, you know what I mean.
Convince people of some idea by (for example) speaking
straight-faced about the obviously ridiculous
opposite! Use stories and fantasy to tell about
scientific facts, thus improving educational speeches.
Conversely, use "scientific facts" to tell
about stories - especially useful for reunion speeches
and the like. Why all these bizarre
recommendations? Because by definition, my dear
readers, "conventional" treatments have been
worn out already!
- Characterization - Too often, hearing one
person talk for any significant amount of time is not
a lot of fun. One person has one voice, on
mannerism, one style of prose; it just gets dull, even
a bit lonely! The obvious solution: characters!
If you have extra "people" in the
performance, the variety of and interaction between
them creates a more dynamic (and as a bonus, more
entertaining and memorable) presentation than a mere
soliloquy. Be careful not to cross the line into
a disturbing simulated schizophrenia; make effective
but discrete use of the characters. Having them
recur in the speech can also be a nice touch - people
become familiar with them and their particular
viewpoints, which enables the efficient presentation
of a greater variety of views on your subject.
All that said, it's a good thing to try - and I, for
one, think it's a lotta fun!