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The Speaker's Blueprint

5 Essentials When Building a Great Speech

By Brian Woolf

Softback, published in September 2019

About the Book...

The purpose of The Speaker's Blueprint is to give you an easy-to-understand framework to help you build great persuasive speeches.

You will learn the tools, techniques, and tricks of the trade of designing and constructing unforgettable speeches. They are drawn from decades of observing speakers, studying speeches, and assessing what works best. The framework comprises five inter-related parts:
·  Point. A clear point or message is essential. Otherwise, why are you speaking? And for an optimal outcome, you point to the first action step to be taken.
·  Opening. Grabbing your audience's attention at the beginning is essential to optimize your limited time with them. If you don't get it then, when do you plan to?
·  Konnect. If you don't connect, you have no effect. This is the most essential element in speaking. The stronger your audience connection, the more effective is your persuasion.
·  Emotion. Emotion is essential because it precedes logic when persuading others. If you don't show how you feel about your message, why should your audience feel excited about it?
·  Remember. As the purpose of most persuasive speeches is to transmit an idea or point, it's essential that you help your audience remember it. For as experienced speakers tell us: If they can't repeat it, they didn't get it.

These essentials are readily remembered by the mnemonic POKER. And just as a poker is used to stir the coals to bring a fire to life, this POKER will give life to your speeches.

Each of the five POKER essentials has a section devoted to it. Each begins with an explanatory overview followed by details, guidelines, and quotes. The quotes were chosen to illustrate speaking techniques, not necessarily the beliefs expressed. Those obviously belong to the person quoted.

To demonstrate different POKER elements in action included are actual speeches, along with explanatory comments. Most have YouTube viewing access links.

In my experience, too many speeches are mediocre for one simple reason: the speaker is unaware of the key elements of success. It is my hope that the POKER framework, its supporting techniques, and the examples given, will guide you to the excellence you seek. Although designed for those on the lower slopes of Speech Mountain, many near the top find this book an excellent sounding board and checklist. It is a book for the meeting room, contest room, conference room, and boardroom.

What's In It?


Section 1 - POINT
Your Message and Your Point
Differences: Message vs Point
Highlights of a Persuasive Masterpiece
Examples from World Champions
Choosing Your Message
Frameworks and Filters
Gandhi, Randy, and Selfie Filters
John Andrews - In Lieu of Flowers

Section 2 - OPENING
Why Your Opening Is So Important
How to Use This Section
Speech Opening - Examples

Section 3 - KONNECT
Mind Your U's and Q's - and P's Too
U's (You's)
Q's (Questions)
P's (Participation)
Wars Over Words
Concrete vs Abstract Words
Vivid vs Vapid Words
Authenticity and Credibility
Connection - Small Important Aids
Connect with Contrast
Connect with Triples
Connect with Sequencing
Dananjaya Hettiarachchi - I See Something
Don Johnson - A Many-Splendored Thing
John Shepherd - Love, Hillbilly Style

Section 4 - EMOTION
Emotions - A List
Emotive Words in Action
Twists - Examples
Threading Emotion Through A Whole Speech
David Henderson - The Best Medicine
Randy Harvey - Lessons from Fatdad
Pete Hoffmann - The George P Hoffmann Award
Kelly Swanson - The Woman with a Mop

Section 5 - REMEMBER
Repetition - Introduction
Repetition at the Beginning
Neil Kinnock - I Warn You
Repetition at the End
Repetition by Threading
Classic: Harold Patterson - The Pain Passes
Dual: Lance Miller - The Ultimate Question
Humor: Jay Nodine - The Golden Years- -Yeah! Right!
Phrase That Stays - General
Phrase That Stays - Motivational
Constant Object
Threaded Phrase and High Level of Repetition
Repetition in Parallel
Repetition of a Word
Repetition of a Word with None In Between
Repetition of a Word with A Pause In Between
Repetition of a Word with 1-2 Words In Between
Repetition of a Word Dispersed Through A Paragraph
Repetition of a Word Dispersed Through Whole Speech
Darren Tay - I See Red
Repetition of Words with the Same Root
Repetition of a Word Whose Meaning Changes
Repetition of Words with Similar Beginnings
Repetition of Words with Similar Endings
Repetition Where the Last Word Becomes First
Repetition in Reverse
Repetition of And, And, And
Repetition of an Idea
Repetition with a Twist
Repetition of a Sound
Closing Comment
Manoj Vasudevan - Pull Less, Bend More

What Others Are Saying

"The best speaker's guide ever! For both the novice and seasoned veteran, Brian Woolf's The Speakers Blueprint guides you through the essentials of creating a memorable speech. Extremely well written and replete with examples of wonderful speeches throughout, this book is a classic that should sit on every speaker's desktop. Blueprint indeed - it's a construction manual that cleverly breaks speeches into its component parts to simplify both writing and delivery, and it's a forever reference book full of speeches that will make you laugh and cry."
·  Dr. George (Pete) Hoffmann

"Brian has inspired, informed and educated me. He speaks to ME in The Speaker's Blueprint. This book ties a neat bow on the trilogy that he has published to assist speakers of all abilities. I appreciated his other books but this particular book? The Speaker's Blueprint contains Brian's love of public speaking - the craft itself. His voice is engaging and encouraging as he helps us strive for even greater eloquence."
·  Alison Boyce DTM

"The Speaker's Blueprint is an easy-to-read guide to improved oratory. We learn best from instruction backed by example. Mr. Woolf instructs us in what to do, then provides an example of a speech which accomplished his directive. Quite often the speech provided is historic in nature or from a well-known name. Several times, I found myself saying, "So that's what he/she did!" Opening the door for multiple applications to my future presentations."
·  Harold Patterson (Toastmasters 1987 World Champion of Public Speaking)

"This book is not only an excellent read but it is a true blueprint for crafting and delivering a solid speech. I have been a member of Toastmasters for the past 7 years and a professional speaker for five. This is a go-to manual that I use continuously to help me become a better communicator. I recommend this book to the novice and the professional. It is a winner."
·  Lefford Fate, DTM

"This book is a true gem. The POKER framework described in the book has elevated my speeches and presentations to a whole new level. The techniques are easy to follow and the real-world examples provide great insight into crafting powerful speeches."
·  Eric Feinendegen (World Speech Champion Finalist)

"The sublime quality of Brian Woolf's writing is his humility. Despite his personal accomplishments as a speaker, he always casts himself as a student of the craft rather than a born master. Consider this - the third book of his trilogy - as a few decades' worth of really well-organized notes from the smartest public speaking classmate you ever had. In his own telling, this is the book he wishes someone had given him 40 years ago. Brian's previous two works are modern standbys for the public speaker - guidebooks that would inspire Ralph Smedley and Dale Carnegie. This third book, however, possesses the hallmarks of a classic. These are the unabridged revelations of a mind whose purpose is to educate the next generation of orators. He shares every bit of knowledge he acquired on his journey to be an accomplished speaker; and the clarity of his style makes them accessible to beginners as well as advanced learners."
·  Mark Rogers DTM

About the author...

Brian Woolf is a speechaholic. He loves listening to speeches, thinking about them, and giving them; and he loves reading and studying them - their makeup, their message, their "music" - to discover their magic.

It wasn't always so. In High School he avoided entering the annual speech contest. At 22, in his first job, he knew he needed speaking help. Toastmasters was just being introduced to his native New Zealand. He joined. He learned. He gained speaking confidence ... enough to subsequently use the skills learned to graduate with Distinction from the Harvard Business School with its two-year program focused on dialogue-based case studies. In later years, he has spoken extensively, including conferences on five continents.

Toastmasters continues to play a key part in his life. Brian has been an active club member in New Zealand, Ireland, and the USA. He has won five District (State) Speech Contests - and lost many more (which is when intensive learning occurs!) In 2003, he was one of the nine finalists in Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking. Mastering communication skills helped him not just in Toastmasters but also in the business world and as an author, where the art of simple, clear communication guided his writing of three marketing books. This book shares many lessons Brian wished he had learned decades ago with the goal of speeding up your speaking journey.

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Copyright © 2022 Brian Woolf