Messages from the Masters
So You're Going to Make a Speech...Congratulations! by Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE

You've been chosen (or drafted) to deliver a speech. No time...Don't panic...Fripp is here!!! 


Start by asking yourself three questions: 

1. Who is my audience? (What do I know about the corporate culture or collective personality of the group?) 
2. What do they want or need to know from me? 
3. How long can or should I talk? 


There are two basic outlines that work well for both beginning and advanced speakers alike. 


Tell your audience a three-part story. 
This is where I was. 
This is where I am. 
This is how I got here.

It's a simple format that helps you tell the audience who you are and why you are qualified to speak on the topic you've chosen. 

Here's an example of how effective the outline can be. A successful Realtor was asked to deliver a 25-minute presentation for the local Board of Realtors. I coached her to open like this: "Twelve years ago, before I went into the real estate business, I had never sold anything but Girl Scout cookies, and I hadn't done that well. Last year, I sold $13 million in a slow market, selling homes that averaged $100,000 each. Today, I'll tell you how I built my business." Right away, the audience knew exactly what she was going to talk about, and they were eager to hear her story! 


The members of your audience probably want to know the answers to the same kinds of business questions you're asked at parties or professional functions. You can start with, "The five questions I'm most frequently asked about investments (or whatever your product or service is) are--" 

Pose the first question to the audience and answer it for them in a conversational manner, just as you would a potential customer or someone you meet at a party. Even though you've never made a speech before, you've certainly had a lot of experience answering questions in your field. 


That's easy. To begin with, don't. Gather and organize your ideas, plan and polish, but don't write it down word for word. For now, just jot an outline with key points and ideas on a note pad.  As you brainstorm for effective material, don't worry at first about where it will go. This process benefits from some downtime. Start in plenty of time if you can, and keep your note pad handy. With time, you'll find your ideas fitting into a natural sequence. I suggest you stand up and start talking and tape-record your comments rather than write word for word. Listen to the flow, then jot the outline after you have heard how it sounds. When it flows naturally from a strong foundation, you can take notes, but you may find you do not need to look at them.

Patricia Fripp CSP, CPAE is a San Francisco-based professional speaker on Change, Teamwork, Customer Service, Promoting Business, and Communication Skills. To learn more about Patricia, as well as save 20% when you order her audio/video programs Million Dollar Words: Speaking for Results, Preparing and Presenting Powerful Programs and/or Confessions of an Unashamed, Relentless Self-Promoter, go to

Provided courtesy of  Jim Rohn International