One of our goals with a speech is to make the key messages memorable. Our ability to make the audience remember and recall our key thoughts and ideas long after we have finished speaking determines our success as a speaker. Whether you want to inspire or persuade an audience to adopt your ideas the better they recall them after the speech has finished the more influential you have been as a speaker.
How can you stack the odds in your favour?
We can take a lesson from Winston Churchill. A man, who had to unite and lead a nation through some of its darkest days in World War 2. Throughout the war he was giving regular radio addresses to the nation. As he prepared each speech he would review it to see if it had appropriate “SCREAM”.
What is SCREAM?
You might remember these from English lessons in school:
Simile -Comparison of two objects using “Like” “as” or “than”
Contrast – Comparing two or more things using their opposite
Repetition -Having phrases that are delivered with a poetic rhythm to them
Echo – Repeating key words or phrases throughout the speech
Alliteration – Using words that start with the same letter or sound in a sentence
Metaphor – Applying the attributes of one thing to another
After writing his speech Churchill would read each line and see if the impact of him message would be improved by applying one or more of the techniques above. Do you recall the famous line “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.”? This line, and in particular the phrase “iron curtain” has lived since Churchill delivered the line in March 1946. The line leverages a metaphor to maximise memorability.
Your speeches and messages may not need to endure for nearly seventy years. But for your ideas to live in the minds of your audience beyond the room in which they hear you speak you need to leverage one or more of the language tools above.