This year’s Speaker Contest applications are still open until the 22nd of January. While some of you may still be wondering whether to apply (you should!), some may already be thinking about your speech!
We decided to help you out and give you some tips for creating a winning speech. And who better to provide such tips than our past winners?
Duncan Wardle – Winner of Speaker Contest 2022
Be True to Yourself. You will receive a lot of advice along the way, but ultimately you must do what is right for you.
Enjoy the Ride. If others can see and feel your passion for your cause, they will join you and root for you.
Create an Experience. People may not recall your story, but they will always remember the experience you created for them.
James Hewitt – Winner of Speaker Contest 2018
Focus on the process
Focussing on the process while keeping the outcome in mind is the skill that sets high performers apart in sports and business. The positive effect of process goals, which focus on specific actions 100% controllable by the individual, is more than 15X LARGER than outcome goals, which focus on the endpoint (which is out of our control). Remind yourself that you can’t directly control the outcome of the competition. You can only control how you deploy your skills and experience. For example, the outcome = win. The process = carefully structure your pitch and practice until you can’t get it wrong.
Sleep plays a crucial role in learning, memory formation, recall, and cognitive performance. Forgetting what you were saying, or struggling for words, is every speaker’s worst nightmare. If you don’t sleep adequately during your practice and performance phases, you could significantly impair your performance on the day it counts. After 18 hours of being awake, cognitive performance declines are equivalent to being legally drunk, so staying up and rehearsing all night is a bad idea.
Public speaking is a memory-intensive task. During the practice phase, when learning your presentation content, you must maximise your capacity to memorise and retain information. So, during the rehearsal phase, avoid exercise for a few hours after practice, as it can interfere with storing new information. However, on the day of a performance, exercising a few hours before you are on stage can improve your ability to recall information.
So be true to yourself, take care of your physical health and your mental focus, and enjoy the experience! These are the key ingredients for a successful speech – and success in general!
Applications are open until the 22nd of January.
Good luck, and enjoy the ride!