LESSON ONE: THE LIGHTHOUSE!

Notes for RISE Foundation of Arizona Online Public Speaking Class – Week ONE

Ok, – we discussed a couple of important concepts in our first session last week. Over the next 8 weeks we will cover many aspects of basic SPEECHCRAFT as well as the art of DELIVERY. We are covering the fundamentals in the order that makes the most sense.

First Class Focus – CONCEPT: The LIGHTHOUSE

The LIGHTHOUSE is that beacon in the night, where we aim our ship in the midst of a storm to reach our desired destination.

A speech is like that – it can be a storm of ideas, stories, points – that together lead to a jumble of confusion that frustrates our audience – and we need a beacon to point to so we stay on target with our desired destination.

Our objective when we give a speech is to ensure we are very CLEAR in what we want to say. We want to have a focused, distinct, specific POINT to our speech. Many times we watch a speaker and they are all over the place – they meander from idea to idea, with no clear point to what they are talking about.

The LIGHTHOUSE is the one idea – the one thing – that our speech is all about. I often ask the speakers I coach, after hearing their first draft; “What is your POINT? What are you trying to SAY to your audience?” – and this is something I want them – and you – to describe in one sentence. If you can’t be clear on what you are trying to say with me, you will never be clear to your audience.

Examples are endless:

“I have a dream!” Martin Luther King

“There is nothing to fear but fear itself” Franklin Roosevelt

“Attitude is everything” – about a million motivational speakers…

You cannot expect to be effective, to make an impact, until you are clear on what you want your audience to THINK, FEEL, or DO as a result of your talk. So you have to do the work first, and it is the first thing you do, when you begin to write your speech.

The video here is a GREAT example.

Craig Valentine, the 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking, gives this talk with the LIGHTHOUSE “Your Dream is NOT for Sale!”. Watch and listen and you will see how effective it is!


And, as a bonus, you will see him do the other thing we discussed in our first class – ENGAGE THE AUDIENCE! He literally has a “conversation” with them, and they love it! This is the difference between speaking and…acting.

Relating to your audience – knowing them, feeling comfortable, caring for them – and having a conversation.

Craig wants his audience to know, without any doubt, through his experience, that the ONE THING that stands between people and achieving their dreams is valuing your dream at all costs.

The LIGHTHOUSE – your point – what you want to say – the main idea…You need to know what it is, clarify it to one sentence, and construct your speech around it so everything you say relates to it. Clarity, clarity, clarity…A good speaker always thinks “How can I make my point MORE CLEARLY?”

Do this and you are on your way to building a great speech…

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