How To Paint A Picture For Your Audience When Giving Your Next Speech

paint a picture


The best speeches I have ever heard have had one thing in common, the speaker shows us a different way of thinking about a common problem. They do this by taking us on an emotional journey where they paint a picture we can easily relate to.


“The soul never thinks without a picture.”



We are visual people and we need a speaker to paint a picture so we can relate to the message the speaker wants us to hear. Every speech should have a message for its audience.  There are no exceptions to this rule. If your speech has no point then you need rethink the premise.



How Do You Paint A Picture With Words?

The best way to paint a picture with words is to think about how we process information on the world around us? The answer of course is we use our senses

  1. What We Hear
  2. How We Taste Objects
  3. The Way We Touch Items
  4. What We See
  5. What We Smell

We paint a picture of the world around us through our five senses. When we are writing speeches we need to use the audiences senses so they visually appreciate what we our saying. This can be done by thinking about the way we use language. If I wanted to describe someone in my speech who is small I would not say,”They were small”. Instead would say something like this, I am 5.5” and I towered over this woman who reminded me of my granny because they also smelled of roses. Immediately by using two senses I have painted a picture in the audience’s mind of what this woman might be like.



It Is All About Emotions


“Genius is the ability to renew one’s emotions in daily experience.”

Paul Cezanne


When you think carefully about the language you use you can paint a really strong visual image of what you want your audience to see and feel. The pictures you paint create an emotional connection with your audience. In the example above I purposely choose the picture of ”my granny” because most people are able to relate to this visual imagery.

The key is to relate the emotion you are trying to elicit to the senses you are trying to portray. The better you are at forming an emotional connection with your audience the more likely they are to engage with your message.



Bring Your Audience On a Journey


“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”

Matsuo Basho



The example I used above is only one part of a bigger picture that you need to paint in your speech. Think of each individual picture as a frame in a movie, it is only when you bring all these frames together that the movie makes sense. Similarly with your speech you need to take your audience on a journey where your opening picture and subsequent journey makes total sense when you reveal your last picture to your audience at the end of your speech. Then when your audience is convinced by your message they can take the action you are promoting.