Martin Luther King is one of the greatest talkers of his, or just about any, generation. His ‘I Have a Dream’ speech still stands as an ultimate master class in the art of persuading and inspiring people to act according to your visions by appealing to their sense of collective unity. And really, if there’s anything that this world still needs more of, it’s exactly that! Of course, if you’re expecting to talk in front of a large crowd of people, then you can do well with taking some tips from the (fictionally) patented “Martin Luther King Speech Techniques”!
So, what are those “speech techniques”, then? Are they similar to delivering a speech in a wedding or a funeral? Well, there are some common elements to it, but that’s the beauty of delivering a speech: you can actually make it in any way you want it to be, which is why that there’s no substitute to actually hearing one being delivered in real-time and in such convincing manner, too!
So, how do you craft your own version of your generation-defining speech, then? Well, it’s just a matter of knowing how to work magic in the words you will be choosing for your said speech! So, with that said, here are three tips below collated from the oratorical style of Martin Luther King himself! Get your quills ready!
Using “classic” rhetoric tools
It can be very easy to think of most speeches as boring; many of those speaking in public like to rely on age-old verbal clichés as “props” for the points they are trying to convey to their audience, which is why some people can willingly ignore what you are saying right in front of them if you don’t play your cards right.
However, that’s not to say that you have to completely reinvent the wheel when it comes to writing a speech; when delivered in small doses, these “clichés” can actually work their magic upon an unsuspecting audience that is probably used to those kinds of verbal devices before! In particular, many of these rhetorical tools—like metaphors, alliterations, parallelism, and the like—are the sorts of things that can add “colour” to your speech in more ways than one. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you have to go all old-school political just to get your point across, but it doesn’t hurt to exercise some creativity when it comes to this purpose!
“Amplifying” your main point over and over again
Some speeches, as you may have noticed, have this “broken record” quality that sees its speakers repeating their points over and over again like there is no tomorrow. Of course, for some of these speakers, there probably is no other day that they can deliver another speech like what they are doing right now, so they’re probably making it all count on just that one moment!
However, there’s a reason why this act of repeating your main points—often referred to as the technique of “amplification” in speech-writing—works very well even despite everything going against the contrary: much like how a pop song embeds in people’s consciousness through the means of a “hook”, emphasising a point, say, twice in a row will actually help people take notice of the things that you are trying to convey to them. You can call it “dumbing down”, but hey, if that means that your audience will eventually know what you’re talking about, then that speech of yours is already a success in our books!
Winning your audience over with “your” story
The point of giving a speech is to have a wide range of people be able to relate to what you are presenting to them in the first place. However, what is probably most ironic about this whole aspect is that a great number of them can relate to you even more if you can actually tell more about YOURSELF alongside the idea that you’re presenting in front of them.
And really, “human interest” stories are the things that “sell” the most in cases like these; it’s just in our modern nature as a species to fall hook, line, and sinker for highly individualised stories that document the tragedies and celebrate the triumphs of a certain person in particular. Really, we don’t call it “cult of personality” for nothing, you know?
Of course, the real purpose behind this tact is that, other than giving them facts and figures that a great number of your audience can’t even wrap their heads around, an account from your life will actually give them something “tangible” to chew on. By opening up a part of your life to your audience, you’re actually providing them a message that, yes, even they themselves can ascend the podium you’re standing on and speak in front of the same peers that you are speaking onto at that moment. Sounds very powerful, doesn’t it?
So, have you decided what Martin Luther King speech techniquesyou would want to practise for your purpose? Well, tell us more about it in the comments section below!