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Secrets to a Winning Speech: Tips from Quills and Quotes

Every year, the same kid wins the school speech competition. During their speech, the audience is laughing, nodding and clapping wildly. You’ve decided this year is your year. This year, the audience will love you. This year you will win that coveted speech trophy. How? Quills and Quotes, a kid’s public speaking program, trains students in public speaking, and they have agreed to share 4 of their 19 sure-fire tips to winning a speech competition.

1) Hook the Audience with a Prop

Props are a powerful way of hooking the audience. Props engage the audience through visual appeal, plus they often add humour. Darren Tay, 2016 Toastmasters International Champion, incorporated a wonderfully creative demonstration of prop use during his speech on bullying. He began the speech with a dramatic pause and then put on a pair of white underwear over his suit. The audience was shocked, mesmerized, and HOOKED! The key to effective prop use is to hide the prop until it is needed in the speech; otherwise, it becomes a distraction. When Darren walked onto the stage, he concealed the underwear in his pocket; if he had walked on wearing the underwear, it would have had less impact.

2) Use a Metaphor to Tell Your Story

Metaphors help the audience relate to your message. When the audience relates, they care, and when they care, they remember. In this way, a metaphor makes your speech memorable. A fantastic example of metaphor use occurs in Ramona Smith’s speech, “Standing Still.” In this speech, Ramona compares life to a boxing match. The metaphor was so effective she won the 2018 World Toastmasters Championship. Watch the speech and notice how the metaphor creates a winning speech.

3) Maintain Powerful Body Language

People respond to body language. A speaker that “closes” their body or “shrinks” on the stage causes the audience to disengage. However, open, strong, emphatic body language connects an audience to the speaker. People interact with one another through body language, even when one is on stage, and the other is 20 metres away. So, be powerful on stage to captivate and hold your audience’s attention. Recall Ramona’s confident and energetic body expression; it mesmerized her audience and won her the speech competition.

4) Close with a Call to Action

When a speech calls on the audience to act, it changes the audience’s life, and that is a speech to remember. The action should be for positive change, and the final message should empower, inspire or motivate the audience to take that action. A particularly effective speech by a Quills and Quotes student on “Making Time,” challenged the audience to at that moment, choose a time every day for “me time,” to set a daily phone alarm, and to commit to keeping that alarm for 66 days. The speech created change and triggered action; that is a winning speech.

We have 15 more secrets for winning speech competitions, so if you enjoyed these 4, enroll in a Quills and Quotes public speaking class today! Register on our website or contact us at 647-985-3711.

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