Any speech worth listening to should be succinct. Edward Everett is not a name that you might remember. He delivered a two-hour oration at Gettysburg on the 19th November 1863. He was immediately followed by President Abraham Lincoln, who spoke for just a shade over two minutes. That two minute address will probably never be forgotten.
You want your diners enthralled: such is my ambition.
Whilst not a president of the United States, I’ve had a life well-lived, gratefully. This allows me a huge stock of anecdotes to grace your event. Belly-laughs, sage nodding, gasps, the odd tearful moment, all delivered with wry humour which aims at “infotainment”. With an art-history background, years of experience as a musician in the military and my present roles as a tour guide and as a technical advisor to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, I have many springboards to take off from in defining what your audience may like to relax into.
Oddly, for experienced speakers, the more notice we have, the briefer we can be. I often find that I am asked to speak for 20 minutes, when an organiser expects me to speak for 45. For me, the only rubric is the audience’s engagement, as I rarely talk from notes. I am pleased to sit at table and decide “on the hoof” what a room will want to hear, tailored to their requirement. If I’m to speak economics to economists, well then maybe I’d rather work from a script.
In particular, as a Burnsian, you could scarcely find a more accomplished speaker – more here.