Well, I have no idea how to do that! I mean, I’ve never delivered one. But recently, a legendary group of Hall of Fame Inductees did. Bobby Cox, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Tony La Russa, Frank Thomas, and Joe Torre all went from legends to immortals as they were officially enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Few classes can boast this kind of quality from top to bottom. Thomas, Glavine and Maddux were among three of the most successful stars on the field in the 1990s, while Cox, La Russa and Torre all won World Series titles en route to incredible careers from the bench.
What always catches my attention at big events, whether it’s the Academy Awards, political events, or the Hall of Fame are the speeches. Nothing like a great speech and these days they’re captured forever.
You figure at a big event where the media is everywhere and there are flash bulbs and tweets popping from all directions, mistakes wouldn’t be made. But Joe Torre made a big one. Torre was a very good baseball player, great coach and manager, and a terrific speaker. But in his 28-minute speech (very lengthy), Torre forgot to thank George Steinbrenner who probably made it possible for him to be in the HOF in the first place. Hey, it happens to all of us.
There may come a time when you have to give a speech, whether at a wedding, funeral, or award ceremony or you might be introducing the next speaker.
Here are some ways to prepare yourself for your next big speech, presentation or talk.
1. Make a list
And check it twice! Craft a list of all the people that made it possible for you to give this speech. Who do you need to thank? Clients, associates, friends, family members, former bosses, current bosses, staff, etc. You may not remember everyone and you certainly may not be able to mention everyone. Although, Frank Thomas did list 100 people by name (and nickname). If it’s a laundry list of people, feel free to have the names written and read them from the stage. Nobody will care that you’re reading them, but those that were mentioned will appreciate being mentioned.
2. Prepare your three most important points
If you only had three points to share in your speech, what would they be? Of course, a big consideration might be if the three points are about you or someone else’s impact on you. Heck, the points may not be about you at all! I spoke at an event last week where the first speaker was a former reporter for Sports Illustrated. His entire speech was about big time sports figures – Michael Jordan, Walter Payton, John Wooden, and the impact they had on everyone around them. What would be the three most important points you need to make to your audience?