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  • Writer's pictureMichael Barrett

Four Minute Friday #5 - Speech, Social Media & Thoughts on Shoulds.

The How to Make a Great Speech: 3 Alternative Approaches.


This is slightly advanced and should fit onto the general advice given in regard to public speaking and making a speech. It is a tactic to be positively impactful.

With preparation, anybody can deliver a memorable speech.

There's three approaches you can take.

You might use a combination but there should be one dominant intent throughout.

You can deliver:

The speech you want to deliver.

The speech that uplifts the event.

The speech that needs to be said.

For an impactful speech avoid simply delivering the speech that is expected.

Unfortunately, this is most speeches.

If you do this:

You're just taking up space and you know it!

Some Groundwork:

1. A speech is an opportunity to perform, good speakers understand this and use it.

2. Take time to understand the event and why your speech is part of it.

3. Understand your audience and their expectations within the context of the event.

4. Importantly:

You can't plan it all in advance.

A great speaker adapts during the speech based on how well they are being received.

At best it can be a decision tree.

Here's the unconventional wisdom:

You don't always have to match your speech perfectly to the event and the audience.

If you do match closely, you'll probably deliver a delightful speech.

Delightful speeches stay well within their designated lane.

However, if you want to deliver a memorable speech,

You should dance on the edge of expectation and the unconventional.

In other words, you must take a RISK.

The risk you will be poorly received.

Good news is, there's a way to skillfully take this risk where you have:

Large upside and limited downside.

It starts with selecting which of the three will be your dominant type.

Delivering the speech that uplifts the event is likely the most common use case.

6 Steps

Step 1.

Create the vibe to match the event.

This is important, light hearted usually works.

A light hearted vibe is great for a wedding but may be inappropriate at a funeral.

Step 2.

After an appropriate beginning, start taking slightly more risk.

The risk will probably be a social risk.

Something that edges toward the boundary of convention (for the context).

Step 3.

If you've been received well so far and have the audience's attention,

You have reached: The point of no return.

If the vibe feels right and


(do not take the risk if your confidence in delivery is below 80%).

If you feel hesitant, you'll make a mess and it'll be a disaster.

Once you decide to execute

Deliver with all the conviction you can muster, believing that you will be received well.

There will be plenty of shocked faces.

But there will be smiling faces too.

Focus only on the smiling faces while you deliver the risk in its entirety.

Step 4.

Following full delivery of the risk (regardless of how it was received),

Slowly but surely, make your way well back inside what everyone expects.

This lets everyone calm down, shows you are in control and are socially calibrated.

Step 5.

Conclude your speech with something charming, cheerful or thoughtful.

Step 6.

The conclusion of your speech isn't the conclusion of your performance.

If you've done well, you'll get a lot of compliments and attention.

You've just made something very complex look very simple.

People will appreciate the risk you took and the finesse of your delivery.

Respond with gratitude but in an understated way.

"Thanks very much, I'm glad you enjoyed it" with a big smile.

If your risk was poorly received.

Responding requires more nuance given the context so I won't go into that here, other than to say, the advice is the same.

Use gratitude and remain understated!

If you've offended someone and they approach you, give them a chance to feel heard.

Really listen when they speak.

Respond with something like:

"Thank you for letting me know, I had good intentions, apologies if you think I've missed the mark. Shall we leave this behind for now and enjoy the rest of the event?".

Chances are their emotions will move on pretty quickly from there...

Where are you at now?

Behind and need to catch up (-1>0)

Stable but want to be better (0>1)

Maintaining through life changes (1>1)

Accomplished with BIG ambitions (1>2)

Delivering a memorable speech through calibrated social risk is something that all stages can benefit from, but those moving from (0>1) will receive the greatest benefit for their time.

My Take on Using Social Media, continued...

Last week, I finished this section with:

"In last week's post, I spoke about including my personal Rules of Engagement for participating in social media. This post is long enough so I'll include those next week."

To be completely honest, I haven't yet arrived at Rules of Engagement that feel complete. I don't want to force this because it's important to get it right.

Disagreements and conflicts are a normal and expected part of moving through any social space both online and offline. Praise and applause (although often less forthcoming) are also common and normal.

Meaningful Rules of Engagement, I believe, will be the backbone for navigating the full spectrum of outcomes that can be expected. I have previously found rules of engagement to be useful in other social contexts when authentic expression is of paramount importance.

So this remains a work in progress and I will post the rules here in due course.

My Thoughts on Shoulds.

I really should...

Shoulds get a bad wrap.

Most deserve it.

But some Shoulds are necessary and useful.

Here's how to tell the difference:

Did you choose this Should yourself?

After careful consideration of what is important to you.

Fully accepting that you can't be in two places at once.

With consideration of all your responsibilities.

Aiming at expressing the highest version of yourself.

Did you choose this Should yourself?

If your answer is no, someone else chose it for you.

Either disregard it or get it done quick.

Either way be more organised next time.

If you did choose it yourself, the guilt is there for a reason.

Time to get moving.


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