You’ve finally done it. You’re a successful entrepreneur (“Hooray!”). You’ve won the adulation of your peers. (“Double hooray!”) They’ve assembled to hear you give a speech, and are now sitting in front of you, waiting to hear the wisdom of your words—even if it is on mute at the other end of a Zoom call. What will you say—or, more to the point, what will you say as a leader?
Giving a leadership speech is more complicated than ordinary public speaking. As a self-made business person, you’re speaking with the authority of being a great success story. People want to hear the wisdom you have to share, but more than that, they want your leadership. To give the guidance and wisdom expected of a person of your position, your speeches need to reflect your leadership status.
You may not have done much public speaking as an entrepreneur; it may be difficult for you to express your life and knowledge in a series of bite-sized sentences. But you are no stranger to adversity; use the leadership skills that made you into a success to lead an audience of captive listeners.
To write a great leadership speech, be sure to follow these following points:
A speech occupies a strange no man’s land; it’s a peninsula caught between the oral speaking of the ocean and the written word of the mainland. It needs to be natural enough to be spoken aloud, and yet focused enough to build a structured argument that has an emotional impact.
When writing any speech, take your time. Have the patience to go through several drafts and revisions. Practice it aloud and in front of a rehearsal audience; record yourself if you have to. Use shorter expressions instead of run-on sentences. Take your most complex thoughts, and rewrite them to be simpler.
Above all else, a speech needs to be clear. It needs to be understood by all members of your audience. The responsibility is on you to be an effective communicator with a speech that effectively delivers your message.
A true leader understands the importance of cultivating trust in their followers. If no one believes you, no one will follow you. The same thing can be said for giving a leadership speech: in order to gain the trust of your audience, you need to be sincere with them. People won’t just want to hear what you have to say, but why you say it, and how.
As a successful entrepreneur, people will want to know you. They want to learn what made you successful, and how you did it. However you respond, keep in mind that the thing your audience wants most of all is sincerity; they want you to be honest and genuine.
Remember: Your audience is following your every word. Lead them by building their trust, and you’ll keep your audience enthralled and engaged.
Keep to the Point
You’ve had a fascinating life, one that started at the beginning and has led up to the present time. It’s a tall tale in short order, and you have plenty of anecdotes to share. The thing is… don’t do it.
A leadership speech is no time to be winging it with stories about “that one time.” Your audience is looking to you for direction. They are looking for advice to improve their lives. It’s great to weave personal stories into your narrative, but make sure each one serves a distinct purpose towards the goal of your speech.
Your leadership speech needs to entertain; it needs to educate; and it needs to have a point. Use facts and numbers to build authority and help retention. Build your speech towards a climax that inspires and elevates your audience. Demonstrate how your words are relevant to their needs. Be the leader they are looking for.
A “Brand” New World
It’s always there, ever-present. It’s there when you look out your window, or when you turn on your television, or when you go to work. It’s your “brand”: the unique, personal stamp you’ve put on your business, and it’s the x-factor that your audience wants to hear. For these reasons, it’s an integral part of any leadership speech you give.
Because you live an adventurous life without taking notes, this may be a strange concept for you to put into words. But, there’s no need to spell everything out. You are your own brand, and it’s already in everything you do.
Talk about how you’ve grown your business using your values and beliefs. Explain how your personality has influenced your entrepreneurial direction. Share the background behind key business decisions. It’s your brand, and it is distinctively you. Be the charismatic charmer that you are.
There’s never enough inspiration; some days, there’s barely any at all. With your leadership speech, your audience is looking to you to guide the way in an uncertain world. It’s a heavy responsibility, and maybe you’ve never set out to become a role model. But, that’s okay.
Your success as a self-made entrepreneur is an inspiration on its own. Talk genuinely about your experiences. Try to be honest with your failures and regrets—which, if you truly are successful, you probably already have. Be yourself, and inspire others with the confidence that shines within you.
Giving a leadership speech may be one of the most difficult things you can do as a leader; it can also be among the most rewarding. Be considerate towards your audience, have a good awareness of yourself, and you too can write a leadership speech that can inspire others.
Are you an entrepreneur that has something to share? Are you interested in serving as a mentor for aspiring entrepreneurs? Check out our MOGUL Crews Accelerator program!