- There is a saying, “Speech is silver. Silence golden.”
- It does not mean we should stay silent all the time.
If one does not have meaningful things to say, it is better to remain silent rather than rambling or engaging in “frivolous talk”.
Length of Speech
The length of a speech varies.
- Elevator speeches (lasting less than a minute)
- Impromptu Speech (e.g. Table Topics lasting one or two minutes)
- Icebreakers (lasting four to six minutes)
- Prepared Speeches (lasting a specified time : typically five to seven minutes)
- TED and TEDx talks (lasting about 18 minutes)
- Keynote speeches (45 – 60 minutes with Q&A).
Message and Messenger
Both are important.
- The message should have value.
A speech should provide a “take away” or an “action item”.
- The audience is more receptive to a well known speaker (e.g. Celebrities).
- During our younger days, I had a book of the 40+ speeches given by notable people (e.g. Winston Churchill).
- Rotary Club, Kiwani’s Club and Toastmasters International provide guidance and training for communication.
- I am a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) at Toastmasters International.
- President Abraham Lincoln was requested to give a “few appropriate remarks” at Gettysburg.
- His address consisted of ten sentences.
- It was delivered in less than two minutes (which was not long enough for the official photographer to record the historic moment).
- Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is known for “The Last Lecture”, where a Professor presents to an audience (e.g. those present for his forthcoming Retirement).
- Randy Pausch, who was diagnosed with Cancer, gave an up-lifting “The Last Lecture”.
It can be viewed on You Tube.
It has also been made into a book.
Steve Jobs gave a Commencement Speech at Standford University. It can be viewed on the Internet. In three parts, he connected the dots (e.g. taking a Calligraphy course to the aesthetic Font designs on Apple Computers.
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