Note from Chris: Today’s guest post is from Stevie King. I am excited to have Stevie post, because he is one of only a handful of speakers left competing in the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking. So let us learn from Stevie about, “The BIG thing.”
Project three in the basic manual of Toastmasters International is titled, “Get to the Point”. The project has the speaker work on identifying both a general and a specific point to their speech. Most of us don’t have a problem identifying the general purpose of our speeches. If you are a professor, your speeches inform. If you are doing an after dinner speech, you typically are there to entertain. If you are speaking at a graduation, often you will want to inspire. Often times, lost in all the emotion of a rousing motivational speech, the specific point is lost.
The specific point of your speech is the action item. It is the DO of your speech. The graduation speech needs a call to action. A persuasive speech requires you to ask people to act on your message. Even a lecture moves your students to further investigate your main points. As a speaker, we often times have several themes we want to get across in a presentation. But all of your themes must support one main idea that you are trying to get across.
My process for developing a speech goes from back to front. The first thing I do is come up with my specific point of my speech. What’s the main idea? What is my BIG thing? That point is what drives the development of your speech. That is what instructs you what should stay in and what material should be on the cutting room floor. Your main idea is the one thing that you want people to remember about your time in front of them.
A great speech has to have pieces and those pieces have to move your audience through a roller coaster of emotions. Think about the great speeches you have heard through your life and undoubtedly there is one key phrase or idea that has stuck with you all these years. That was their BIG thing. What is your BIG thing?
Stevie King is a member of Athens Toastmasters Club 1779 in Athens, GA. He is currently competing in the International Speech contest where he will be involved in the Region 8 finals on June 27.
You can read Stevie’s district winning speech as well as follow his contest preparation at his blog www.stevieking.wordpress.com.