Useful Tips for Business Owners: What Makes a Good Speech?

Public speaking is a widespread phobia. Many people, including business owners, prefer to present to their employees or peers. But what if I told you that anyone can learn how to deliver an effective, powerful speech, even if they’re nervous? Here’s what you need to know about giving a great speech.

A photo of a woman business leader giving a speech to her team

What Makes a Powerful Speech?

Business leadership comes with many opportunities for public speaking: conference talks, annual parties and events, pitch meetings, stakeholder presentations, large client gatherings, and even staff meetings once you grow to a certain point.

Higher-ups need to be comfortable with addressing a crowd. Fortunately, the part you have the most control over—crafting the speech itself—is half the battle. Whether you’re preparing a speech to motivate employees or to accept an award, here are 5 elements of a persuasive speech.

  1. Give it structure: People will lose interest if you ramble. Make sure your speech has a logical flow. A good speech needs a brief introduction, a defined number of points, and a firm conclusion.
  2. Build trust: What qualifies you to give this speech? Why should people listen to you? Include facts and statistics, cite your sources, and mention any credentials you have that will build trust in the eyes of your audience.
  3. Circle back: To keep people engaged, tie each subpoint back to your main idea. Don’t make them guess why something matters; tell them the takeaway for each part of your speech.
  4. Keep it short: Even the most attentive listener will start to tune out a speech that won’t end. Try to keep your speech shorter, around 20 minutes maximum. People naturally talk faster when nervous, so practice slowing down while speaking and workshop the length of the speech accordingly.
  5. End on a memorable note: The end of your speech will be the main takeaway for most listeners. Be sure to go out with a bang.

5 Vital Speech Delivery Tips

Even the best speech will be wasted if your delivery falls flat. Here are 5 crucial tips to remember when delivering a speech to motivate employees, clients, stakeholders, and more.

  • Start strong. You want to grab your audience’s attention from the very first line of your speech. Use humor, share a surprising fact, or tell a personal anecdote to draw people in. Just make sure it’s relevant to your main point.
  • Verbal punctuation and transitional phrases can help listeners follow your speech. Use strategic pauses for emphasis, and be sure to use words like “first,” “next,” and “last” to direct your audience’s attention.
  • Interact with your audience. Make eye contact, ask questions, and use hand gestures to hold their interest.
  • Don’t read your speech verbatim. Small improvisations make a presentation sound more conversational. If you’re worried you’ll forget parts of your speech, you can print bullet points on note cards for reference.
  • Use effective visual aids. A PowerPoint containing the full text of your speech is not an engaging tool. Use graphs that are easy to understand, incorporate humor when appropriate, and ensure that your visual aids reinforce your point overall.

Giving a great speech is a skill that can be learned. It takes a combination of solid writing and snappy delivery, but the most important thing you can do is practice. Some of your speeches will be worse than others, but you can’t let that crush your confidence. Dust yourself off and try again.

Learning to develop a quality presentation is critical for business owners. A business coach can help you hone this skill. Click here to schedule a free call with me, and let’s talk about what makes a great speech.

Coach Dave

Dave Schoenbeck
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