Talking Shop Wrap and Review: Secrets to Writing a Perfect Speech with Dr. Michelle Mazur

Learning and Community

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elcome to a brand new series: Talking Shop Wrap and Review.

This is a monthly series where I will briefly delve into our latest Talking Shop show and the points that were especially smart, surprising, and useful (there are always so many).

If you are new to my little corner of the web or new to Talking Shop let me give you the lowdown: Talking Shop is a podcast now in its 5th year. It is hosted by Theresa Reed aka The Tarot Lady and moi. You can access every episode right here for free, and yes, you are welcome.

This past week on Talking Shop we hosted the wonderful Dr. Michelle Mazur. This was Dr. Michelle’s second visit to Talking Shop and this time our topic was all about Speeches – how to write them, pitch them, and nail them.

Theresa and I create our show topics and put together our guest list a year in advance – often our guests are busy and popular because they are at the top of the game in their industry – so we want to make sure we give them plenty of time to pencil us into their planners!

Of course before we invite the guests we come up with the topics, and the topic of how to give a great speech was one that we had been itching to do for so long. We both really believe that the world needs to hear your unique voice and perspective AND we know that getting up in front of an audience and nailing a speech is something that makes many of our fellow sacred artists tremble in their boots. That meant it was the PERFECT topic for our show.

Once we knew we were going to talk about speeches we also knew we had to have Dr. Michelle back! Her primary focus is public speaking and speeches that place you, as she says, in a category of one.

We were extra excited because Theresa and I both have speaking engagements this year…I’ll be leading a Sacred Arts Sojourn in Santa Fe and later this Autumn speaking at St. Johns College and Theresa continues to speak and teach as she promotes her awesome book.

One of the big points that Dr. Michelle made right away is that a successful speech has a single main idea to drive home and no more than three supporting points to emphasize that core message.

This totally took me back to my debate days when we were taught to craft three main arguments to support our case, whatever that happened to be. It was also really welcome news for some of our audience members who can easily feel flummoxed by the question: where to begin??? Answer: Start with one idea.

Dr. Michelle also pointed out that contrary to what most people think and do, when you craft your speech the introduction and conclusion are the LAST parts that you craft. Do all of the body work and then circle back around to create an unforgettable opening and closing.

A final point that really stuck with me? Treat your speech as an offering, an extension of your business, not this weird “extra” thing that gets its own category. Treating your speech like a business means that you will figure out really basic questions up front (like how will you be paid) but also apply the professional standards you have to the entire process from start to finish.

We all agreed, for instance, that the minimum amount of time to give to speech preparation is a month, with Dr. Michelle advising at least three. That kind of time allotment is something most of us would assume going in when crafting a new offering but not necessarily what we would give ourselves to create a killer speech.

Of course, these are just a few of the highlights from our show. You can listen to the entire show here. We also invite you to join in for our next show which will cover a very important (but intimidating) topic: Search Engine Optimization with Liz Lockard.

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ARRIVING on full moons each month.