How to Edit Your Speech

Public Speaking Trap – Speech Bloat

How Bloated Speeches Are Like Software

When writing a speech, we often try to cram as much information into the speech as possible. This is like computer software companies trying to cram as many features into a program as possible. Like a bloated piece of software that needs a new computer to run correctly, information packed speeches need audiences with the exact same experiences as you to understand what you are trying to tell them. Let me let you in on something, no audience is ever going to have the exact same experiences as you, so your information packed speech is going to fall flat.

Why Bloated Speeches Happen

Your speeches get bloated when you try to make more points then you can appropriately fit into your allotted time. For example, if you have a five to seven minute speech in a Toastmasters club and you try to explain ten major points, you are going to give a bloated speech. Delivering ten major points in a five to seven minute speech is not going to make you look any smarter; on the contrary, it might make you look confused as you rush to fit all of your points into your speech.

How Many Points to Make

Depending on the complexity of the points you are trying to make, you should only attempt to make one point every five to seven minutes. That means in a standard Toastmasters speech, you should make one major point. In a 45 minute keynote, you can raise the number of points to five or seven, but too many more than that and you will be getting into the information bloat.

How to Prevent Speech Bloat

Speech bloat is preventable. In order to make sure you are not trying to cram in too much information, you should attempt to tell one story and make one point in a five to seven minute speech. Please make sure you find a story that is relevant to your point, and then fill it with as much graphic detail that also reinforces your point. Successful speakers do this very well and the results come from the awards they win and the checks they receive for being engaging and entertaining speakers that are remembered and repeated.

When All Else Fails

When all else fails and you have a 5 to 7 minute speech that is filled with “useful” information, cut it in half. Then add supporting detailed stories to get it back to 5 to 7 minutes. Then cut it in half again and go back and add more detail. Doing this simple process will add vivid, memorable stories to your speeches and allow you to be a successful speaker.

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About the author:

Chris Elliott serves as a leader for supply chain and international non-profit organizations. He has an unshakable habit of lifelong learning and uses his knowledge and experiences during his speaking engagements, workshops, consulting projects, and one-on-one coaching sessions. The result…connecting people and empowering change.

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