February 16, 2013


Can You Say Something?

London, UK

Is there anything worse than hearing that phrase?

I’m sure many of you have been in that awkward situation where a speaker hasn’t turned up, or fallen ill and you have to step into the breach. In a newsletter issued by Alan Stevens @mediacoach on Twitter (and its the only one I read) he offers this sound advice…


“I wonder if you could say a few words?” is a phrase that can strike chill into the heart of someone at an otherwise enjoyable event. If this is asked of you, always find out what the questioner wants you to do – give a vote of thanks, call everyone to the table, or whatever. Once they have explained it to you, repeat it back to them for confirmation, so you both agree why you are about to address the audience.

Speaking without a clear objective is a recipe for disaster. However, some speakers do not discover this until their speech is under way, as they realise that they have no idea what message they are trying to send. That often results in a stumbling apology for not having enough time to prepare, and a closing line of “Er – that’s it from me”.

There are four main types of objective for making a speech:

  1. To inform – such as updating work colleagues on the state of a business
  2. To Inspire – such as a motivational speech to raise the spirits
  3. To entertain – such as an after-dinner speech
  4. To persuade – such as a pitch for business, or a political oration

Sometimes, a speech may deliver on more that one objective, but it must have at least one.Always, always take a couple of minutes before you speak to ensure that you know why you are speaking. If you can’t come up with a reason, don’t say anything at all.

Useful stuff to know.




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