I gave a speech the other day that was fine. I said what I wanted to say, made the points that I wanted to make.
But fine, I fear, is forgotten. Fine isn’t remembered when a person walks out of the room. Fine is checking the box.
I think I went wrong in the preparation: spending so much time focusing on what I wanted to say, while forgetting to think about what I wanted to happen: what I wanted the audience members to do, to feel, to remember, to repeat to the next person. And not just 5 minutes later, but the next day or the next week.
People don’t remember lists and plans. They remember the narrative, especially a narrative in which they are the central actor, and it’s clear what action they are meant to take. They also remember what they can feel: a personal connection, humor, a spark, even an image.
“What am I going to say?” or “What points am I trying to get across?” seem like the right questions to ask when drafting a speech.
But “What do I want someone to remember?” and “What do I want someone to do?” are much more important.