Interviews

Revealed: The four key ingredients you need to deliver the perfect speech

3 min read

14 October 2015

Public speaking can be a stressful situation. But if you master these four key ingredients, you'll knock the ball out of the park with your speech.

A strong core argument, memorable phrases confident delivery, and a sense of personality have been revealed as the secret ingredients to a perfect speech.

Conference and events specialists QHotels appointed Phil Collins (no, not that Phil Collins, but the a journalist and former speechwriter to Tony Blair) to help people improve their public speaking skills.

The collaboration came as a result of a YouGov survey that looked at UK adults’ attitudes towards public speaking. 

From the research, not being prepared enough and speaking for too long both came out high, with 42 per cent of respondents with work colleagues identifying each of these as the biggest presentation blunders.

Other public speaking faux pas included being too aggressive, being boring, cracking silly jokes, going off topic and reading from notes.

The biggest mistakes colleagues have made in a presentation are: 

  1. Not being prepared enough: 42 per cent
  2. Speaking for too long: 42 per cent
  3. Speaking too quickly: 41 per cent
  4. Not speaking clearly enough: 40 per cent
  5. Relying too much on a slideshow: 31 per cent
  6. Not having a clear point: 30 per cent
  7. Not being enthusiastic enough: 29 per cent
  8. Not acknowledging the audience: 22 per cent

The survey also revealed that 51 per cent of UK adults are not confident in their own public speaking skills and 22 per cent of people whose jobs require giving presentations or talks lack confidence.

This lack of confidence was apparent when respondents were asked whether they would pay someone else to do a talk or presentation in their place, of which 37 per cent answered that they would be willing to do this.

For his report, Collins examined five successful contemporary speeches from Steve Jobs, J.K Rowling, Emma Watson, Seth Godin and Sir Ken Robinson.

“A good test for a speech is: if you tried to summarise it in a sentence, could you do that?” explains Collins.

Recognising the need to bring a sense of personality to a pitch, Collins adds. “A speech is an individual communion with a group. It needs to be a speech that could only have been delivered by that person.”

Claire Rowland, director of marketing at QHotels, adds:  “These softer skills are often overlooked in the workplace, but are actually vital in career development. Not only does having more confidence in speaking help get your message across more effectively, it allows you to demonstrate your knowledge in a subject area and improve leadership skills.”