The Forgotten Five


It has been said that every speech has 3 parts to it – the head, the body and conclusion. Which one then, is the most important section?

Surely it is the body! After all, the body’s the part that contains all the information right? What’s a speech without information? What’s the point of a speech if we cannot deliver value to our audience? Surely then, the most important part of a speech is it’s body…

No! No! It must be the conclusion! The conclusion summarises all the main points in the speech. Therefore, with a good conclusion, the audience would be able to sieve out and take note of only the relevent points of information. Surely thats saves time and facilitates better understanding right? Surely, that’s what’s most important…

As most of you would have guessed by now, the most important part of a speech is neither its body or conclusion. They’re important segments, don’t get me wrong. But more importantly however, is the start of a speech. More specifically, the first five minutes of a speech.

In my observations of public speeches and experience as a speaker, I’ve realised that what usually makes or breaks a speech is the first five minutes. This is because most people usually make up their minds on whether they want to listen to you within the first five minutes! Tell them why they should listen to you, and they will stay. A speaker who wastes the audience’s time will not command the attention and respect from the audience – and most listeners won’t wait until the end to ‘realise’ that the speaker is wasting their time, most will decide within the first five minutes! (Won’t you?)

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got killer information in the body or a great earth-shaking conclusion! There’s no point to all these if nobody’s paying attention to them. Therefore, it is always crucial to help listeners understand why they should be listening to you within the first five minutes of your speech!

Don’t waste time talking about the weather or how long it took you to park your car (unless you’re talking about driving skills!). Go straight into sharing your expertise and abilities and intrigue the audience! After all, they’re sitting there in front of you because they believe that you can give them something that they want – something that’s of value to them.

Therefore, remember the golden rule: help the audience understand how you can help them within the first five minutes!

Good Luck!

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