Revealed: The four key ingredients you need to deliver the perfect speech

A strong core argument, memorable phrases confident delivery, and a sense of personality have been revealed as the secret ingredients to a perfect speech in new research commissioned by conference and events specialists QHotels. 

AA Hotel Group of the Year 2014-2015 QHotels appointed Phil Collins, journalist and former speechwriter to Tony Blair, to help people improve their public speaking skills as part of the The Science of the Perfect Pitch campaign.

The collaboration came as a result of a YouGov survey commissioned by QHotels to study UK adults' attitudes towards public speaking, finding that poor preparation, speaking for too long and speaking too quickly are the biggest mistakes work colleagues make in presentations.

From the research, not being prepared enough and speaking for too long both came out high, with 42% of respondents with work colleagues identifying each of these as the biggest presentation blunders.

Other public speaking faux pas included being too aggressive, being boring, cracking silly jokes, going off topic and reading from notes.

The survey also revealed that 51% of UK adults are not confident in their own public speaking skills and 22% of people whose jobs require giving presentations or talks lack confidence.

This lack of confidence was apparent when respondents were asked whether they would pay someone else to do a talk or presentation in their place, of which 37% answered that they would be willing to do this.

For his report, Mr Collins examined five successful contemporary speeches from Steve Jobs, J.K Rowling, Emma Watson, Seth Godin and Sir Ken Robinson.

Mr Collins explained in his analysis: "A good test for a speech is: if you tried to summarise it in a sentence, could you do that? "

Recognising the need to bring a sense of personality to a pitch, Collins further commented "A speech is an individual communion with a group. It needs to be a speech that could only have been delivered by that person"

Claire Rowland, Director of Marketing at QHotels, said: "Our research has brought to light the need for businesses to help boost their employees' public speaking and presentation skills. These softer skills are often overlooked in the workplace, but are actually vital in career development. Not only does having more confidence in speaking help get your message across more effectively, it allows you to demonstrate your knowledge in a subject area and improve leadership skills.

"Because of this, we have worked with Phil Collins to delve further into what makes a great speech and provide advice to people who are looking to improve these skills. We've been able to bring together this insight in a useful crib sheet which can help anyone who wants to be more confident in their public speaking.

"Our Venue Verdict Award-winning hotels provide a range of conferencing facilities, which are perfect for hosting business talks and showing off those public speaking skills."

The full report, breakdown of the survey results and perfect pitch crib sheet can be found at

Biggest Mistakes Colleagues Have Made in a Presentation

Not being prepared enough-  42%

Speaking for too long-  42%

Speaking too quickly - 41%

Not speaking clearly enough -  40%

Relying too much on a slideshow- 31%

Not having a clear point - 30%

Not being enthusiastic enough - 29%

Not acknowledging the audience - 22%

*Base: All UK adults who have ever had work colleagues

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