Evaluating Great Speakers

W hile all great speakers don’t present their speeches in exactly the same way, most of them include all of the primary pillars of a great speech. Specifically, those pillars are a strong argument, a clear benefit, powerful delivery, an attractive presentation, and an energetic ending.The way in which speakers feature these key facets will vary, but almost every great speech will be comprised of these features in some way. Let’s take a look at a few different kinds of speeches and review how they hit on the five pillars.Short and Concise SpeechCheck out this short speech from current Apple CEO Tim Cook. The clip is only two minutes long and is only a small portion of his speech, but notice what he was able to do in that short two-minute span.First of all, he was confident and passionate, stating that he “loved Apple” and loved what they were doing for people. Second of all, he showed credibility by talking about recent products that have revolutionized the industry. And, last but not least, he made it clear to the audience how Apple’s products are going to continue to benefit users.While you don’t get to see the energetic ending, check out how Cook ends this speech. Notice the way he references his predecessor, Steve Jobs, in what was something of an inside joke with an intelligent audience. As we mention throughout our program, you can gain a lot of respect and admiration by using examples of people that your audience is sure to respect and admire.Now, obviously a guy like Tim Cook is going to garner immediate attention from everyone listening in a way that most speakers won’t be able to. He doesn’t really have to “earn” attentiveness. You can, however, take the principles of his speeches as examples of how few words need to be said in order to accomplish multiple things.Energetic SpeechWhatever your opinions are of President Barack Obama, there is no denying that he is a great speaker. Check out this speech he made prior to becoming president.Notice that he delivered a powerful message, combined benefit for the American people with a strong argument (backed by historical examples), and also had an energetic ending. He also referenced the late Martin Luther King Jr., similar to the way Tim Cook referenced a well-respected predecessor, in order to create an immediate and lasting energy for the crowd. President Obama, like Tim Cook, was able to employ all five pillars in a short and concise speech.Less Is MoreThese speeches from the Apple CEO and American President prove that it is possible to involve all five pillars quickly. While most speeches will be much longer than these, the less-is-more approach should be taken as often as possible when presenting. It’s also interesting to note that both of these speeches were done without any additional visuals. Great of speakers like President Obama and Tim Cook show us the many things that we can learn on our way to reaching their level of energy and excitement in our own speeches.
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