I believe you have a very wonderful speech inside you. It is the kind of speech that inspires and equips people like me. Blogging is more powerful than we normally consider it. It’s an opportunity to try out our voice, to share our perspective, to present a point of view. In many ways, this is your chance to speak on a grand stage to an audience who is interested in what you have to say. You have our attention. What will you say?
Do you think of blogging that way? Why wouldn’t you? This is truly an opportunity that we sometimes trivialize. And yet, you are at once a publisher, a speaker, and a potential thought leader in your space. The same tools that allow others to post simple links or tweets is your platform for sharing the best of all possible human thought. How will you use your time on this stage? Why not build a beautiful speech?
Inspiration for the Speech
Your audience reads. They get around. They’ve seen some of the same things you’ve seen on the web. Give them something new. One way to do this is to look far outside the realm of where your audience normally reads. Look for materials or ideas that come from other areas. If you’re a web designer, look at cooking blogs. If you’re a marketer, read about painting.
From there, ask yourself this simple question: How can I inspire and equip others to do great things?
Okay, it’s technically a simple question, but a fairly tall order. And yet, I think it’s the most important question, and a great way to build your speech (or blog post, in this case). How does one inspire? By telling stories of triumph. By sharing the path one takes from simple beginnings to the highest highs. By sharing the dangers that came along that path, and then explaining what you did to move past them.
Inspire and equip in equal parts, if you can.
Mechanics of the Speech
There is nothing worse than an overly long speech. Unless maybe it’s a rambling, poorly conceived, cliche-filled, slideshow-heavy, self-inflating overly long speech. There are ways to make your blog post beautiful, inspiring, and well-shaped.
First, hang your promise as the North Star above the dark sky of your speech. Let’s decode that. If your speech is about how to turn a depressed downtown city block into an urban garden and gathering space, start with that. Say, “I am here to show you how you can make magic, and transform neglect into hope. With enough hands, and a vision, we can turn 144 Dalton Street into a place our grandchildren will talk about.”
Think of a decent speech (or a blog post) as if you are building a house. Your main points are the solid frame of the speech. Starting with that promise hung in the sky, you sketch out the big points, like putting up the corners of a house. You apply lumber (your supporting points), and you clothe it all stories, which help us understand the meaning of what you’re telling us.
You might think that the end of a speech is presenting us with the finished house. Oh no. You made that house as a model for us to examine. The end of a good speech is when you give us tools, and send us, inspired, on our way to build our own houses based on what you showed us.
Obligations of a Speaker
If you are here to inspire and equip me, and you’ve built a house to rest beneath the promising North Star you hung in our sky, you must be responsible for a few things.
- Do not deceive me, unless you tell me early in your speech that you intend to do so. You have my trust. Respect that.
- Do not make the house for yourself. I admire that you have stature to stand on your stage and speak to me. But I have not come to hear how great you are. Be humble.
- Equip me. Inspiration is not enough. If you give me only hope, I cannot eat hope.
- Encourage me. Be willing to see me build my house from your speech and your example. And praise me for the house I build from your instruction.
- Give the stage to me. In the end, we all want to hang stars before others. Even if they are small stars, on a small stage, or a blog somewhere out in the darkness. When you are done with your speech, your star, your house, invite me to the stage.
And with that, I invite you to create a beautiful speech of your own.
Photo credit Jared