Speech Advice – What Else?

June 21, 2011 § 2 Comments

UK Youth Climate Coalition Co-Director Hannah Smith asked me for some advice for a speech she’s giving. She doesn’t need it – her energy and passion are more inspiring than anything I have to say – but I came up with the following. What else would you advise?

  • Talk about what is useful to them, not what is interesting to you. We may be fascinated about paradigm shifts and worldwide revolution, and the audience will need to hear that from someone. Likelihood is, someone else will bring that viewpoint to the table. Think about the knowledge you have gained in the last 5 years of campaigning, about the mistakes you made when you first got involved with activism. What do you wish you knew then?
  • Give them resources. What books should they read? What blogs should they follow? Who has inspired you and should they know about? How can they be part of your work once you’ve finished speaking?
  • Give them responsibility. “You will be told you are the leaders of tomorrow, and that’s all nice and well. But if you want – you can be the leaders of today.” Tell them we need them. “We are the ones we have been waiting for”.
  • Give them hope. Talk about how young people across Europe are working together towards Power Shift. Talk about how a new generation of climate campaigners is collaborating, sharing knowledge and winning campaigns. Talk about how the combination of smart tactics and passionate hard work is winning campaigns right now – NHS, forests etc.

What else?

§ 2 Responses to Speech Advice – What Else?

  • tombaker says:

    Great advice. This is what I say to others….

    Fill your talk with F.O.A.M – We need to tickle every part of the listeners brain when we speak, and we can do that by using;
    – Facts (and ideally really good ones – see Duncan Green for more (http://www.oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/?p=31))
    – Opinions (‘Bill Gates said…..’ ideally from sources that have some credibility on the issue we’re speaking)
    – Anecdotes (stories, ideally ones that have some emotional resonance)
    – Metaphors (It’s a bit like..).

    Win the energy war – Their is lots of great stuff out their on ‘mirror neurones’ but basically something in our brain is at work to respond to how we see others act. So if we’re low energy then our audience will be. But it’s also affected by how our audience is, because if they’re low energy the neurones in your brain will want to drag your energy down. So you need to be high energy throughout and bring the audience with you.

    Also if you’re going to use powerpoint then I think ‘simple is beautiful’ see Steve Jobs as an example.

    I always like to make some references to what others have said or comments from the audience, for me it says ‘I’ve been engaging with this conference, and I’m going on the journey with you’ rather than ‘I’ve been asked to speak so I’m going to stand up, speak and then disengage’.

    Finally, practice really does make perfect.

  • cterkuile says:

    LOVE those comments – thanks Tom. Super useful!

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