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Need to write a speech but you are stuck?

Each step is necessary for the completed burger
Each step is necessary for the completed burger

There are times when you have to crank out a speech and are stuck as to what to write and how to present. Here is a helpful tip that will help you get back in the groove.

When I was teaching a selling skills class, one of the practice sets was for the members of the class to design a short three to five minute presentation to make in front of the class. It could be any topic and was designed to get the class thinking about sales presentations before the formal instructional period on presentations.

Thus, the topics and the presentations were wide open. I encouraged the class to get a little crazy with the assignment and not to take it too seriously, as we would be using it as a first step in crafting tight professional sales presentations.

In writing the course, my colleagues and myself had designed this segment to come at the end of the first day of training so that this could be a homework assignment and also to create a little bit tension and discomfort in the class.

Of course, that worked like a charm as the class ambled out with the grumbles of "homework" and other general complaints. There was also the usual group of people around my table with the typical questions of what topic should they pick, how long should they work on this, where was a good place to go to dinner and would the classroom be open so they could come back and rehearse.

Naturally, some overachievers wanted to know if there were limits on multimedia, could it be a power point presentation, was there enough outlets in the classroom to satisfy their power requirements.

The next morning the presentations commenced under my watchful and gentle positive feedback. (This was what I call a throw away exercise. If something good happened I could use it for the rest of the class, if not, I could ignore it.)

There was the usual wide range of good, bad and indifferent presentations, but toward the end something remarkable happened.

A gentleman stood in front of the class with no notes, no clicker in his hand for a power point presentation. He was a tad nervous, and from the time he waited to go, I could tell that he was hesitant about how he would rank amongst the class.

He took a deep breath, squared his shoulders and launched into a memorable talk.

He told us how, in step by step fashion, how to make the most famous fast food sandwich of all time! It turns out that his first job, like almost 1 in 8 Americans, was in a fast food restaurant. He worked the grill and made these sandwiches.

His enthusiasm for his topic, his pride in what was a job well done, and his attention to detail held us all in rapt attention.

He took us step by loving step through what he called the building of this sandwich. Each step was important and we could see the logic behind every one.

With enthusiasm, sincerity and with a rock solid step by step process; this gentleman trumped all of the other presentations, good and bad; showy and dull.

It was the perfect sales presentation because all of us saw the fast food restaurant with fresh perspective and of course it made us all hungry.

So what are the takeaways here?

First, if you are in rut or have writers block for an upcoming speech; consider going back to basics. Look at your potential subject and see if you can distill it down to it simplest fashion.

Can you break it down into a set of easy steps or topics? Can you draw upon your emotions and enthusiasm for the topic? And can you make your audience's mouths water over your topic?

What would your topic look like if you started your talk by saying, "How to ______ in three easy steps."? Every task can be broken down in such fashion.

Using a step by step method will enable you to better remember your speech and it leads your audience to anticipate the next step along with what you might say about the step.

So if you are in a rut, try a step by step speech and leave your audience hungry for more!

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