You’ve drafted a powerful speech, polished the prose, and maybe even rehearsed the delivery. But how do you know whether the speech will make an impact? Will it get quoted, tweeted, printed, and broadcast? Or will it be forgotten as soon as it’s over?
In today’s attention-deficit culture, it’s harder than ever for a speech to make a lasting impact.
Here are 10 powerful techniques for making sure the message continues to move hearts and minds long after your client has stepped down from the podium. Don’t try just one—remember that they work best as part of a coordinated attack on multiple fronts.
1. Build up buzz. Promote the event aggressively in advance, using tweets, blogs, and video posts to generate anticipation. Reach out to stakeholders and influencers to make sure the event is on their radar.
2. Stream it live. Invite the outside world to watch in real time (as long as it’s not an exclusive or proprietary event) by streaming live video through an easy-to-use service such as Ustream.
3. Hand out a hard copy. Hand out a physical copy of the speech before the event, with wide margins so listeners can take notes. Or hand one out afterwards, so they can take it with them.
4. Build a “backchannel.” Create an event hashtag and then, during the speech, start a real-time conversation among members of the audience and online viewers. Preserve the content and mine it later for potential quotes or sound bites.
5. Create editorial influence. Turn the central message of the speech into an editorial, op-ed, or guest column. Support with data—a recent piece of research, a study, or a survey—to create an irresistible news hook.
6. Get vital reprints. Submit the speech to the prestigious monthly, Vital Speeches of the Day. If it’s accepted and published, order copies and distribute them to key stakeholders. They’ll also look great on your client’s coffee table.
7. Use people power. If your client is giving the speech out of town, schedule interviews and one-on-ones with key influencers and opinion-makers in the area. They could be local politicians, community leaders, business leaders, and/or members of the media in local outlets, including print, TV, radio, and digital. Use the speech content to create talking points.
8. Blast it out. Put a copy of the speech on the company website, then send an email blast with a link to important stakeholders. Get the event organizers to provide email addresses of the attendees- and blast them, too.
9. Give handouts. Audiences love to take something away—an article, a brochure, an ebook. Will you be handing out a copy of the speech? That’s not the only option—you can also share additional information on the topic, such as a fact sheet—to reinforce the message.
10. Include an action guide. Include in your handouts an “action guide” with clear steps you want the audience to take immediately. Send them away with a plan that ensures they’ll keep the message in mind.
Dana Rubin is a communications consultant in New York City. She helps her clients develop persuasive messages and deliver them powerfully. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.