Speech Lessons From a Jigsaw Puzzle

When I was a kid, my Mom and I enjoyed putting together jigsaw puzzles. What My Mom Taught Me About Creating a SpeechWe’d open the box, and dump the 500 pieces all over the kitchen table, and go to work.
 
It is a cherished memory. Little did I know at the time that Mom was laying a foundation for how I would create speeches later in life.
 
She was an excellent teacher. Being young and impulsive, I wanted to start putting any part of the puzzle together, just so we’d get going.
 
Mom helped me discover the value of creating a plan. This started with the picture on the box. It was always present to serve as our guidepost.
 
One of us would gather the edge pieces.
 
The other would create different piles of pieces that had the same colors or patterns.
 
We then put together the outline.
Following that, we’d each work on a specific pile.
Section-by-section, a mess of pieces began to take shape.
 
The picture on the box was an important part of the process. This guidepost kept us focused on the big picture. It saved us time. We could refer to it to ensure we weren’t wasting time putting incorrect pieces together.
 
Working together, with a plan, we created beautiful pictures. And we did it in a reasonable amount of time.

What does this have to do with speaking?

A process for speech creation

It’s a terrific model for writing your speeches.
 
As you craft your presentations, do you have a process?
 
Or, are you like I was, the over-eager kid?
Do you want to get going, putting pieces together in haphazard fashion?
 
When most people write their speeches, they start at the beginning. They create an opening, then they might add their foundational concept.
 
Then they throw in a few points. They may also add data, statistics, or a story or two.
 
Finally, they add a conclusion. This is usually a question-and-answer period.
 
Is this bad, or wrong?
 
No, but it is not an efficient way to create a memorable and impactful presentation.

A more efficient method of speech creation

A better way is mom’s jigsaw puzzle process:
Start with the ‘picture on the box.’ What’s your objective, your ‘foundational idea?’
 
Then, create your outline, like we did it with the edges of the puzzle.
 
Add your supporting points for your foundational concept.
 
Next, determine how you’re going to support those points. Use a mixture of stories, activities, acronyms, and analogies.
 
Now, it’s time to create your opening. Make sure it orients your audience to your foundational concept.
 
Then, craft your conclusion. Use this to summarize your message. For lasting impact, avoid closing on Questions and Answers.
 
Lastly, include transitions. Ensure that one thought or idea flows smoothly into the next.
 
One of my speaking coaches, Craig Valentine, says that “a message is a mess with age.” Without a picture on the box, or a plan of action, a jigsaw puzzle is a mess that will take ages to complete.
 
If you want to efficiently put it together, it helps to have a plan like the one my mom taught.
 
When you follow the method outlined above, you’ll save time and energy.
 
You will also be spared a tremendous amount of frustration.
 
Thanks mom! Neither of us could’ve known the long-term lesson you were teaching me back then. I appreciate you influencing a terrific method of speech creation.

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Speech Creation Lessons From My Mom ultima modifica: 2017-09-30T11:30:00-04:00 da Michael Davis

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