The Recipe for a great speech

Watching Masterchef on Monday night the contestants were asked to cook a really spectacular dessert called the Passion Flower. Aside from simply looking spectacular the dish has a theatre about it in that the petals that make the outside of the dish open when the white chocolate sauce is poured into the bowl. When the contestants saw the dish, and then watched the petals open for the first time they were in awe at seeing this spectacular dish!


For the four amateur cooks trying to recreate the dish there were twelve individual components to put on the plate and thirty-one steps in the recipe to get there. They all followed the steps and produced dishes that they could be proud of…


Fortunately a great presentation does not have as many steps or components to it. But, at the end of it you want to leave your audience feeling like they have been a part of something spectacular.


So what are the components of a successful speech?

  • Clear and relevant premise
  • Strong Opening
  • Relevant points
  • Strong Close
  • Exciting Delivery


Clear and Relevant Premise

This is the foundation for the success of the speech. A weak premise results in a weak speech. The premise provides the essence of the speech. The premise is the underlying message that you will communicate through everything you say to the audience during your presentation. For the speech to be a success that premise or underlying message must be relevant to the audience to whom you are speaking too.


Strong Opening

For a speech to be a success the opening must be attention grabbing and set up the speech. What do I mean? The opening lines have got to provide the audience with an initial understanding of the message you will be trying to share with them. Audience don’t like to guess – they want to be led and that is where your opening lines play a pivotal role. If your opening fails to give them the clues they need to know where you are leading their thoughts they will simply switch off – and whilst they will remain physically in the room mentally they will go somewhere different – and your speech will be wasted…


Relevant Points

Selecting relevant points is much easier when you have a clear premise. The material you cover and the points you select should be chosen with one criterion in mind. Does it prove your premise? If it does then it can be included in the presentation. If it doesn’t it should be removed from the speech. Sound simple. But, many presentations contain irrelevant material that simply confuses and confounds audiences. Partly because the presenter is not clear on their premise, but also because they falsely believe that they need to cover too much ground in their speech and are afraid to keep their material targeted at a single premise.


Strong Close

A strong close is vital to any presentation. It must bring the presentation to a natural close in the minds of the audience. The close sums up the key points that has been covered and challenges them with a call to action – prompting them to know what to do next.


Exciting Delivery

Like the Passion Flower every speech needs to have an element of theatre to it. We are not talking about acting here – but you need to inject your personality and style into the delivery of the speech. Even the best-prepared presentation will be ineffective if the presenter doesn’t inject life into it through his/her voice, gestures, and general delivery. Having invested the time to get your material so well prepared – add the spice of exciting delivery to get your presentation recognised as spectacular.


For the contestants on Masterchef it was an extremely challenging dish for them to create. The number of components and the steps required to recreate were, at times, overwhelming! There are parallels that you can draw upon, but fortunately you will not have as many elements to prepare and the steps are far simpler. But the outcome should be the same. A speech that you can be proud of!


p.s. For those of you who are foodies and want to know how to make the Passion Flower you can find the recipe here

About The Author

Mark Kyte

Mark Kyte is a public speaking mentor and founder of the Public Speaking Skills Academy. Mark loves helping clients achieve dynamic results that help them increase their influence and get more clients. Read more of his blog and if you like what you see check out the mentoring programs.