Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon.
Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted,
And human love will be seen at its height.
Live in fragments no longer.
–E.M. Forster, Howards End
A speech is all about making connections.
What you talk about (your topic), how you understand it (your frame), what you say about it (your message), how you say it (your delivery) changes, of course.
There are no end of different things you can speak about.
But whatever you are speaking about, a speech is about making connections.
It’s about connecting…
- Data and information to form a coherent idea
- Disparate and mutually contradictory ideas to create a new synthesis
- The known with the new
- People’s heads (understanding and imagination), hearts (emotions and values), hands (actions and behavior)
- Individuals with each other
- Speaker and audience
Making connections is a way of combatting the twin evils of our time: ignorance (and the prejudice and intolerance that it breeds) and loneliness.
There’s more happening in a speech than you think. So never undervalue what you might accomplish when you speak.