Elements of a good political speech.

Elements of a good political speech.

First and Foremost. You need to know your audience before you speak. If you don’t shame on you. If you don’t there is a good chance you’ll have trouble connecting and a reasonably good chance you’ll bomb.

 The truest test of a good speech is not the standing ovation you may receive; it is what the audience will remember one year after you gave it.

 The elements? Stories. Facts and figures. Metaphors. Logic. A call to Action.

 A candidate for public office has 60-90 seconds to grab an audience. And grab it you must, for once an audience has been lost, it is virtually impossible to get it back.

 Audiences love good stories, and they are a great way to captivate the crowd at the get go. Make sure your story is relevant, about a person or a situation that your audience can relate to; one that illustrates the point you want to make. It is not advisable that the story be about you.

 Facts and Figures. Use them to illustrate you’ve done your homework and that you know what you are talking about, but be cautious about the overused of data. Overuse will bore your audience. Know that your audience won’t remember every fact and figure you cite. They will remember that you were well-informed and grounded in your convictions.

 Metaphors. They are a figure of speech containing an implied comparison between two unlike things that have something in common, as in “the streets were a furnace, the sun an executioner.” They entertain. They create images in the mind of your audience. They add spice to your remarks, as salt and pepper enhances the taste of food. They make your speech more memorable. And they make you more entertaining.

 Logic. Use logic to take your audience on a journey and lead it to where you please. Use of compelling logic will cause heads to nod, will help you establish rapport with the crowd, and it is essential to your call for action.

 Call to Action. What good was your speech if you failed to alter the thoughts of your audience or failed to compel them to do something? Ask them to vote, to knock on doors, write letters to the editor, cut a check, volunteer, make phone calls, to help advance a cause. If the crowd departs absent a call to action you’ve wasted your time.

 And a few other matters worth mentioning. Some sure signs you are not connecting. Eyes cast toward the floor and not you. Faces turned toward the windows. Cell phones out as people check their emails. People headed toward the bathroom (They are leaving to go chat with others outside the room while you are giving your talk.) If you are seeing this during your speech, an immediate correction is in order. Be smart enough to see it. Smart enough to read it. Nimble enough to change course, even if it means canning your planned remarks and engaging your audience in a prolonged Q & A.

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