10 Keys To Writing A Speech

“This is my time.”

1

That attitude will kill a speech every time.
You’ve probably sat through some lousy speeches. Despite the speakers’ renown, you eventually tuned them out over their self-indulgent tangents and pointless details. You understood something these speakers apparently didn’t: This was your time. They were just guests. And your attention was strictly voluntary.

Of course, you’ll probably deliver that speech someday. And you’ll believe your speech will be different. You’ll think, “I have so many important points to make.” And you’ll presume that your presence and ingenuity will dazzle the audience. Let me give you a reality check: Your audience will remember more about who sat with them than anything you say. Even if your best lines would’ve made Churchill envious, some listeners will still fiddle with their smart phones.

In writing a speech, you have two objectives: Making a good impression and leaving your audience with two or three takeaways. The rest is just entertainment. How can you make those crucial points? Consider these strategies:

1) Be Memorable: Sounds easy in theory. Of course, it takes discipline and imagination to pull it off. Many times, an audience may only remember a single line. For example, John F. Kennedy is best known for this declaration in his 1961 inaugural address: “And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what can do for your country.” Technically, the line itself uses contrast to grab attention. More important, it encapsulated the main point of Kennedy’s speech: We must sublimate ourselves and serve to achieve the greater good. So follow Kennedy’s example: Condense your theme into a 15-20 word epigram and build everything around it top-to-bottom.
There are other rhetorical devices that leave an impression. For example, Ronald Reagan referred to America as “a shining city on the hill” in speeches. The image evoked religious heritage, freedom, and promise. And listeners associated those sentiments with Reagan’s message. Conversely, speakers can defy their audience’s expectations to get notice. In the movie Say Anything, the valedictorian undercut the canned optimism of high school graduation speeches with two words: “Go back.” In doing so, she left her audience speechless…for a moment, at least.
Metaphors…Analogies…Surprise…Axioms. They all work. You just need to build up to them…and place them in the best spot (preferably near the end).

2) Have a Structure: Think back on a terrible speech. What caused you to lose interest? Chances are, the speaker veered off a logical path. Years ago, our CEO spoke at our national meeting. He started, promisingly enough, by outlining the roots of the 2008 financial collapse. Halfway through those bullet points, he jumped to emerging markets in Vietnam and Brazil. Then, he drifted off to 19th century economic theory. By the time he closed, our CEO had made two points: He needed ADD medication – and a professional speechwriter!

Audiences expect two things from a speaker: A path and a destination. They want to know where you’re going and why. So set the expectation near your opening on what you’ll be covering. As you write and revise, focus on structuring and simplifying. Remove anything that’s extraneous, contradictory, or confusing. Remember: If it doesn’t help you get your core message across, drop it.

3) Don’t Waste the Opening: Too often, speakers squander the time when their audience is most receptive: The opening. Sure, speakers have people to thank. Some probably need time to get comfortable on stage. In the meantime, the audience silently suffers.

When you write, come out swinging. Share a shocking fact or statistic. Tell a humorous anecdote related to your big idea. Open with a question – and have your audience raise their hands. Get your listeners engaged early. And keep the preliminaries short. You’re already losing audience members every minute you talk. Capitalize on the goodwill and momentum you’ll enjoy in your earliest moments on stage.

4) Strike the Right Tone: Who is my audience? Why are they here? And what do they want? Those are questions you must answer before you even touch the keyboard. Writing a speech involves meeting the expectations of others, whether it’s to inform, motivate, entertain, or even challenge. To do this, you must adopt the right tone.
Look at your message. Does it fit with the spirit of the event? Will it draw out the best in people? Here’s a bit of advice: If you’re speaking in a professional setting, focus on being upbeat and uplifting. There’s less risk. Poet Maya Angelou once noted, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Even if your audience forgets everything you said, consider your speech a success if they leave with a smile and a greater sense of hope and purpose. That’s a message in itself. And it’s one they’ll share.

5) Humanize Yourself: You and your message are one-and-the-same. If your audience doesn’t buy into you, they’ll resist your message too. It’s that simple. No doubt, your body language and delivery will leave the biggest impression. Still, there are ways you can use words to connect.

Crack a one liner about your butterflies; everyone can relate to being nervous about public speaking. Share a story about yourself, provided it relates to (or transitions to) your points. Throw in references to your family, to reflect you’re trustworthy. And write like you’re having a casual conversation with a friend. You’re not preaching or selling. You’re just being you. On stage, you can be you at your best.

6) Repeat Yourself: We’ve all been there. When someone is speaking, we’ll drift off to a Caribbean beach or the Autobahn. Or, we’ll find ourselves lost and flustered when we can’t grasp a concept. Once you’ve fallen behind, it’s nearly impossible to pay attention. What’s the point?

In writing a speech, repetition is the key to leaving an impression. Hammer home key words, phrases, and themes. Always be looking for places to tie back and reinforce earlier points. And repeat critical points as if they were a musical refrain.

As a teenager, my coach continuously reminded us that “nothing good happens after midnight.” He’d lecture us on the dangers of partying, fighting, peer pressure, and quitting. After a while, my teammates and I just rolled our eyes. Eventually, we encountered those temptations. When I’d consider giving in, coach would growl “Schmitty” disapprovingly in my head. Despite my resistance, coach had found a way to get me to college unscathed. He simply repeated his message over-and-over until it stuck.

Some audience members may get annoyed when you repeat yourself. But don’t worry how they feel today. Concern yourself with this question: What will they remember six months from now?
7) Use Transitions: Sometimes, audiences won’t recognize what’s important. That’s why you use transitional phrases to signal intent. For example, take a rhetorical question like “What does this mean” – and follow it with a pause. Silence gets attention – and this tactic creates anticipation (along with awakening those who’ve drifted off). Similarly, a phrase like “So here’s the lesson” also captures an audience’s interest. It alerts them that something important is about to be shared. Even if they weren’t paying attention before, they can tune in now and catch up.

8) Include Theatrics: During his workshops, Dr. Stephen Covey would fill a glass bowl nearly full with sand. From there, he’d ask a volunteer to place rocks into the bowl. In the exercise, rocks represented essentials like family, job, worship, and exercise, while the bowl signified the volunteer’s time and energy. It never failed: The volunteer couldn’t fit every rock in the bowl. The sand – which embodied day-to-day activities like transporting children, shopping, or reading – took up too much space. Something had to be cut. Usually, it was something essential.

Covey would then encourage his volunteer to consider another option: Start with placing a rock in the bowl, adding some sand, and then alternating rocks and sand until the bowl was full. Like magic, there was suddenly enough space for both, as the sand gradually filled any gaps between the rocks. The message: Maintain balance. Never lose sight of the essentials as you tend to the day-to-day (and vice versa).

Of course, Covey could’ve made his point verbally and moved on. Instead, he illustrated it with household items in a way his audience wouldn’t soon forget. If you have a smaller audience (or a video screen), consider incorporating visuals. Keep the props, storyline, and lesson simple. When you’re done, leave everything out to symbolize your point to your audience. Whatever you do, don’t play it safe. If you do, your speech will be forgotten in no time.

9) End Strong: In 2004, I attended a Direct Marketing Association (DMA) conference. I don’t recall much about our keynote speaker, except that he was tall and southern. I can’t even remember what his address was about. But I’ll never forget the story he used to close his speech.

The speaker was a friend of Jerry Richardson, owner of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. A few years earlier, the Panthers had drafted a fiery wide receiver named Steve Smith. While Smith excelled on the field, he was a nightmare in the locker room. Eventually, Smith was arrested for assaulting a teammate during film study.
Already reeling from bad publicity from other player incidents, Richardson was pressured to cut Smith. But he chose a different path. Richardson vowed to spend more time with Smith. He decided that Smith would be better served with guidance and caring than further punishment. Eventually, Richardson’s patience paid off. Smith became the Panthers’ all-time leading receiver – and scored a touchdown in their only Super Bowl appearance. In fact, Smith still plays for the Panthers to this day.

If the speaker intended to remind me how powerful that personal attention and forgiveness could be, he succeeded in spades. Fact is, your close is what your audience will remember. So recap your biggest takeaway. Tie everything together. Share a success story. Make a call to action. Don’t hold anything back. Your ending is what audience will ultimately talk about when they head out the door.

10) Keep it Short: What is the worst sin of public speaking? It’s trying to do too much! Your audience’s attention will naturally wane after a few minutes. They have other places to be – and don’t want to be held hostage. And the longer you stay on stage, the more likely you are to stray and make mistakes. So make your points and sit down. Never forget: This is their time, not yours.

 

Source Jeff Schmitt – Forbes.com 

http://onforb.es/PsOlcn

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5 Hotels Chains to ask for Donations NOW

This will save you hours of time compared to finding all these fundraising auction item sources on your own. When requesting items for your charity auction, be prepared to provide your non-profit 501(c)(3) number. You should request item donations at least six weeks ahead of time, but some businesses want to hear from you at least 90 days before your event. Many companies also limit their donations in various ways, so it’s best to apply as early as possible. Links are to each company’s donation page. Remember that when requesting any kind of donation, you should always explain “what’s in it for them”. For the company, this would mean explaining the publicity & promotional opportunities their donation provides, the demographics of your event, estimated attendance, amounts raised in previous years, and how the funds that are raised this year will be used.

Submit local non-profit charitable contribution requests through their online form.

Submit local non-profit charitable contribution requests through their online form.

Supports local charities in these three areas: environmental sustainability, creating local economic opportunity, or providing disaster relief.!

Supports local charities in these three areas: environmental sustainability, creating local economic opportunity, or providing disaster relief.

Hilton supports non-profit groups only in the communities they serve.􀀀

Hilton supports non-profit groups only in the communities they serve.

Each hotel works with local non-profit groups in their community. See donation request directions on website.􀀀

Each hotel works with local non-profit groups in their community. See donation request directions on website.

 Best Western - Submit your donation request by email and be sure to provide the requested information.􀀀

Best Western – Submit your donation request by email and be sure to provide the requested information.

10 Restaurant Chains to ask for Donations NOW

This will save you hours of time compared to finding all these fundraising auction item sources on your own. When requesting items for your charity auction, be prepared to provide your non-profit 501(c)(3) number. You should request item donations at least six weeks ahead of time, but some businesses want to hear from you at least 90 days before your event. Many companies also limit their donations in various ways, so it’s best to apply as early as possible. Links are to each company’s donation page. Remember that when requesting any kind of donation, you should always explain “what’s in it for them”. For the company, this would mean explaining the publicity & promotional opportunities their donation provides, the demographics of your event, estimated attendance, amounts raised in previous years, and how the funds that are raised this year will be used.

Canada only. Offers donated products for charity events in communities where they operate.

Canada only. Offers donated products for charity events in communities where they operate.

Regularly makes in-kind donations to local community events and fundraisers

Regularly makes in-kind donations to local community events and fundraisers

Provides $25 gift cards to schools and non-profit organizations. Send your donation request letter to the attention of the General Manager at the restaurant closest to you.!

Provides $25 gift cards to schools and non-profit organizations. Send your donation request letter to the attention of the General Manager at the restaurant closest to you.

$100 gift certificate for a dozen cookies per month for a year (AZ, CO, IN, MA, NE, TX, UT only).!

$100 gift certificate for a dozen cookies per month for a year (AZ, CO, IN, MA, NE, TX, UT only).

Laudrey's, Inc. Donates a $25 gift card to 501c(3) charities that benefit the local communities of our restaurants. Own's 40 different restaurant chains with 450 locations including Landry's Seafood, Chart House, Saltgrass Steak House, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Claim Jumper, Morton's Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick's, Mastro's Restaurants and the Rainforest Cafe.!

Laudrey’s, Inc. Donates a $25 gift card to 501c(3) charities that benefit the local communities of our restaurants. Own’s 40 different restaurant chains with 450 locations including Landry’s Seafood, Chart House, Saltgrass Steak House, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Claim Jumper, Morton’s Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick’s, Mastro’s Restaurants and the Rainforest Cafe.

Supports charitable organizations in our restaurants’ local! communities. Contact the Operating Partner or any manager at your local P.F. Chang’s to inquire about charitable giving availability.!

Supports charitable organizations in our restaurants’ local communities. Contact the Operating Partner or any manager at your local P.F. Chang’s to inquire about charitable giving availability.

Provides several printable coupons good for a free pint of ice cream for your fundraiser event (schools and non-profits).!

Provides several printable coupons good for a free pint of ice cream for your fundraiser event (schools and non-profits).

Donates gift cards to nonprofit groups for fundraising purposes. They have a list of criteria your request letter must include, then mail or drop off the request at your local Cracker Barrel.!

Donates gift cards to nonprofit groups for fundraising purposes. They have a list of criteria your request letter must include, then mail or drop off the request at your local Cracker Barrel.!

Provides a restaurant gift certificate to a limited number of non- profit organizations.!

Provides a restaurant gift certificate to a limited number of non- profit organizations.

North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma and Arkansas and California

North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma and Arkansas and California

Top 6 questions event planners must ask before accepting the project

Businessman with who what where when why and how

WHAT TO TAKE TO THE MEETING 

A pad and pen to take notes with
A copy of the ‘who, what, where, when and how’ questions listed  later in this module
A copy of the ‘planning the ceremony’ questions listed later in this module
Some suggestions for locations, venues and suppliers etc
Leaflets and brochures from your suggested suppliers etc
Budget estimations
A calculator
And if you take a mobile phone with you, remember to switch it off. You’ll look truly unprofessional if halfway through a meeting a friend  calls to see if you fancy going out for a drink in the evening. Keep your work life and home/social life separate.

In the beginning, your client may have a vague idea of want they want.  But that is why they have come to you. They need help to make their event plans become a reality. Therefore, you must keep in mind the  following guidelines when meeting with a client to plan an event.
Who?
What?
When?
Where?
Why?
How?

Here are a couple sample questions:

What is the projected date and location for your event? This is perhaps the most basic of questions but it is important for your client to provide a direct answer. It can be a bad sign if you sense a lot of indecision or conflict with this topic. Now of course some clients will need your help with choosing a venue, but they really should have at least a couple places in mind. You can spend a significant amount of time shopping venues, and you’ll spend even more if the client has no idea what they want.

What is the goal of the event? This simply asks the client what they want to get out of the event. If they are attempting to reach out to a wider clientele, earn a loyal following, reward the existing followers – all of these things will dictate the feel of the event. As an event planner, you are can facilitate the success of any of these intentions.

Organization in event planning is key. Write all the answers above down or take your cell phone and record the conversation so you can listen to it later and process all the information thrown your way. Do you think you are ready to be the best event planner you can be? Take this quiz by Cheryl Cecchetto and find out if you are ready:

1. Do you go above and beyond to “wow” the client?

2. Do you prioritize customer service and customer satisfaction?

3. Are you extremely attentive to detail?

4. Are your clients always fully informed?

5. Do you respond to your clients on the same business day?

6. Do you strive to build quality relationships and honest conversation?

7. Do you stay in touch with your clients all year round?

8. Do you share their highs and lows?

9. Do you exceed expectations?

10. Do you have original ideas?

11. Do you focus on what is right for your client?

12. Do you tell the truth when you make a mistake?

13. Do you deliver what you say you’re going to?

14. Do you feel that you deserve customer loyalty, and if so, do you nurture it?

15. Do you approach every client as a potential long-term client?

16. Do you prioritize the needs and preferences of your clients more than your potential earnings?

17. Do you treat your employees as you would treat a client whom you want to see year after year?

18. Do you make sure that every day of work is meaningful to you and your client?

19. Is your client’s philosophy clear from the start, and do you agree with that philosophy?

20. Do you know your client’s interests and the event mission statement?

21. Do you actively listen to your clients and ask them how they feel?

22. Do you allow them to share their honest opinions?

23. Are you open to new approaches with each project?

24. Do you live up to your commitments and meet deadlines?

25. Do you reach for the stars?

The Scoring System:

Give yourself one point for each question where your answer is yes.

25: Switch places with me.

20 to 24: You’re on the right track.

15 to 19: Stop and reassess everything.

10 to 14: You may not want to be the front person of the company.

5 to 9: You’re in the wrong business.

0 to 4: You’re not ready to be in business.

 

Want to start a friendly bidding war among your guests?

Reno-Vip-Service

Signed music or sports memorabilia, including autographed footballs, baseball shirts or other equipment from your region’s favorite team, is guaranteed to attract top bidders, raising 370%-630% of their FMV. Also popular are tickets to local sporting events. You’ll always find a couple of fans willing to bid high to support their team, particularly star players.

Fine dining restaurants, such as steak houses or celebrity establishments appeared numerous times making 330%-460% of their FMV. Happily, restaurant certificates are generally easy to come by, as restaurant owners enjoy the promotion they receive by being included in a charity auction.

Following the dining theme above, luxury kitchenware like a high-end knife collection or the latest coffee maker, inspire those looking to find a practical deal for their home.

Fashion is always a good category to include in any auction. High-end items from designer favorites like Tory Burch, Diane von Furstenburg, Michael Kors or Ralph Lauren, do very well, especially during our Fall events as we move into the holiday season. Handbags, shopping certificates and accessories are among the most highly sought fashion items.

Travel; whether a pair of airline tickets or a weekend stay at a Disney resort always generates excitement, with our top item this year, a weekend in New York City selling for 460% of the item’s FMV. Guests are just as happy to bid on a domestic trip over an international one, as there is less paperwork and organization involved, so concentrate your volunteer’s search efforts at home.

Unique experience packages. VIP seating box access at a concert, an opportunity to drive your dream car, or a private tour of the Coca Cola factory, are some examples of experiences we’ve seen do really well this year. For something truly special reach out to well-connected board members or spend time brainstorming with your volunteer committee to see what unique relationships they may have. Be sure to promote these big impact items before the event (our online pre-bidding package makes this easy) and encourage your auction volunteers to point them out to guests.

General rule; anything that is unique, one of a kind, or limited will do very well at your event. Initially, a donation from a high-end fashion house or a weekend stay at a luxury hotel may seem impossible to achieve, but check back with our blog soon for advice on the best way to achieve these items for your next auction.

 

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

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Your event is just around the corner, you are at a standstill. You still need Sponsors, Volunteers and to hire that DJ. Stop. Take a breathe. This uncomfortable feeling you have, the uneasiness and restlessness, its part of the job. That is why YOU were chosen out of all the other applicants to do it. The rush of 6 months prior to your event can be overwhelming, exhausting and every day seems to go by faster than the day before. Here are some tips to  keep things in order, stay healthy and accomplish your goals.

START SMALL

Instead of having one main goal – a successful event. Create small goals for yourself including daily goals. For example:

TODAY:

– check emails

– follow up with 10 potential sponsors

– reserve chairs

EAT WELL

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Stress can cause sickness and exhaustion. Keep your body healthy by making time for yourself. You may feel like you do not have time, but you do. Taking 30 minutes – 1 hour a day  for a walk, workout, yoga or reading a book will reenergize your body and create productivity. Besides, wouldn’t you rather take 30 minutes each day and be well or a week off work because you are sick, which will set you back and be more stressful?

SLEEP

You may find it hard to sleep at night with all the worries in your head. However, maintaining a normal sleep pattern 6 – 8 hours a night will absolutely keep your blood pressure down, help you to focus and maintain and proper work day. Don’t worry too much at night, there is always tomorrow! Just leave it at work and enjoy your pillow. Some tips to help you sleep – nighty night tea; lavender pillow spray or a warm bath. Enjoy!

Copyright 2014 Beahm Auction Group

 

 

 

Father’s Day – A Poem to My Hero

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The world always needs a hero, that hero is dad.

Fathers are wonderful people
Too little understood,
And we do not sing their praises
As often as we should…

For, somehow, Father seems to be
The man who pays the bills,
While Mother binds up little hurts
And nurses all our ills…

And Father struggles daily
To live up to “HIS IMAGE”
As protector and provider
And “hero or the scrimmage”…

And perhaps that is the reason
We sometimes get the notion,
That Fathers are not subject
To the thing we call emotion,

But if you look inside Dad’s heart,
Where no one else can see
You’ll find he’s sentimental
And as “soft” as he can be…

But he’s so busy every day
In the grueling race of life,
He leaves the sentimental stuff
To his partner and his wife…

But Fathers are just WONDERFUL
In a million different ways,
And they merit loving compliments
And accolade of praise,

For the only reason Dad aspires
To fortune and success
Is to make the family proud of him
And to bring them happiness…

And like OUR HEAVENLY FATHER,
He’s a guardian and a guide,
Someone that we can count on
To be ALWAYS ON OUR SIDE.
Helen Steiner Rice

Create the perfect environment for giving

Creating a perfect environment for giving can be a carefully balanced dance that is perfected over time. The most important tip is to ALWAYS HAVE AN END RESULT. Figure out what the goal is and aim for that. Otherwise, you may be all over the place doing the tango back and forth. Here are some tips on creating this perfect environment for giving:

1. VISUAL

Adding a PowerPoint to your Live Auction will not only showcase your live items,but it is also visually appealing. People are attracted to large images and have a very short concentration span. Tease them with a visually appealing image and let them taste what you are auctioning. Use images to generate excitement and dollars! What more could you ask for than Lakers tickets with a picture of Kobe Bryant. They may never meet Kobe, but the thought of possibly meeting him is there.

  • Powerpoint Tips:
    • Place one item per slide
    • Put the item Number on the slide
    • Place the Title on the slide
    • Add a Graphic (1 or 2)
    • Who donated it (example What class/teacher)
    • Bullet point description of the item
    • Following these steps will create interest to sell the item. Most of all it will keep your guests focused and bid!

2.  MISSION PROMOTION

Remind your guests why they are there. It is easy to get lost in conversation, food, drinks and networking. Tell a story through pictures and quotes. Keep your audience focused on the mission and the big picture of how they are benefiting a cause.

3. WALLPAPER IT UP!

Your guests want to have fun, this is a night away to mingle and give back! So, have fun with it. Be creative! Mix your slides up using the tips below and you have what we call Auction Wallpaper.  This can be rotating in the background on your tv’s to remind your audience about why they are there.

  • Compile 100-200 pictures to show your great cause
  • Have them on a 3-5 second loop
  • Add quotes form past guests and sponsors
  • Add Sponsors Logos
  • Include Auction items
  • Display the Sponsors Logos
  • Add any other Facts about the Charity

REMEMBER:

1. Have a goal!

2. Remind your guests of the mission you are promoting

3. Be creative!

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Art Party Theme

How clever is this idea for an Artsy Party/Event. Setting the mood of a fun evening sure to be talked about for a long time. The theme carries through from an artistic detailed candy station to the ‘poured paint’ appearance of centerpieces. Fun, hip and unique!

 

For more themed ideas click HERE to visit our PINTEREST page

Auction Time! First Christian School 14th Gala

We had such a great time at the First Christian School’s 14th Gala, 2014. Auction items were abundant from wine to WELCOME signs.. a really fun evening was had by all. Thank you for including us in your event and congratulations on the success of the event.

Click here to check out video of the evenings auction – AUCTION TIME!