If your content is outstanding, it greatly improves the chances that your
speech will be a success.
No speech is truly idiot-proof, but some are far more likely to succeed
So, how do you elevate your presentation content? Here are five ways to
think about your speech, ways that will elevate the success of the
Identify and intensify the underlying emotion.
Is it excitement? Concern? Curiosity? Raise the stakes, double down on the
urgency, add complications and tension and conflict. Controversy always
makes a speech more interesting.
Figure out what the audience can contribute.
Audience participation continues to be rare in most speeches at most
conferences. Sure, it's easier to simply talk for 30 or 45 minutes, so you
don't have to deal with the messiness of audience response, but don't you
care what the people in front of you think? Merely asking for a show of
hands does not count as audience participation. Your audience can testify,
tell stories, play games, compete, design things, make choices—but it has
to be something real.
[RELATED: Eight types of CEO videos employees will want to watch]
Bring something real to the stage.
Speakers are so in love with their PowerPoint that they think of slides as
something tangible. They're not; they're just pictures. Sure, you can show
a picture of a dog, but how much more thrilling would a real dog be? The
typical virtual workplace is so full of fake things—pictures on screens,
voices of people you never see, birthday wishes from Facebook friends—that
it's exciting for most office workers when you show them something real.
Do something creative and new
. Put a wrapped present under each audience member's chair. Bring live
music to the presentation. Share the stage with a surprise "celebrity"
guest. Start the speech from somewhere besides the front stage. There must
be some relevant way to jazz up your speech with a creative approach that
hasn't been done before in that venue, with that group. The key is to break
the norms of that particular event, venue or group in a positive, fun
way—but keep it relevant. Don't bring in a brass band just because you love
brass bands. Connect it to the presentation.
Over-deliver on some aspect of the speech.
Remember when Oprah Winfrey said, "Everyone gets a car!"? Well, you might
not have the funds to deliver on that particular gift, but what else could
you do? Could you make a gift to a charity in the audience's name? Could
you offer a free something to the audience? For an internal audience, could
you give everyone a day off, staggered throughout the year? Could you
personalize some aspect of the speech (or some relevant takeaway) and make
sure everyone in the audience gets one? We don't expect you to match
Oprah's generosity, but what could you do?
Using these ideas alone or in combination should help you pep up your
A version of this article originally appeared on