Your job is to write yourself a State of the Union Speech. This speech should be about 5-6 minutes and cover what a typical State of the Union Speech usually covers. Use these tips below:
- Tell them a story. Ideas are nice. Stories are what we remember. A first-person account that illustrates your main theme is ideal. If your own experiences don’t fit the bill, talk about someone else’s.
- Conjure the future. Humans don’t just have the ability to imagine the future. It’s basically a need. Great speeches take advantage of it, like Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
- Give them a roadmap and refer back to it. When we listen to a speech, we might get lost by missing a line or two. So effective speakers let the audience know where they are. Consider this line from FDR’s first fireside chat: “I want to tell you what has been done in the last few days, and why it was done, and what the next steps are going to be.”
- Give it some rhythm. Add a little alliteration. A little repetition. Some short sentences between your long ones. This will give your speech added energy. Like this line from JFK’s “Moon” speech: “Why, some say, the Moon? Why choose this as our goal?”
- Give them something to laugh at. It’s impossible to ignore someone who’s made you laugh, or at least crack a smile. A little self-deprecation is usually a sure bet. Note how General Douglas MacArthur, world-famous in his day, started his “Duty, Honor, Country” speech at West Point with a joke about not being recognized by a hotel doorman.
- Acknowledge the elephant in the room. If you’re speaking to a skeptical audience, don’t tip-toe around its concerns. Address the concerns head-on, as in Nixon’s “Checkers” speech: “I come before you tonight as a candidate for the vice presidency and as a man whose honesty and integrity has been questioned.”
- Don’t be afraid to be short and to-the-point. In speeches, quality is not proportional to length.