Shaka Speech Structure
The shaka sign is the famous surfers’ hand gesture, the roots of which go back to Hawaiian culture. It can mean many different positive things in daily usage like “Hi,” “Thank You,” “All Right,” “See You,” “Peace,” “Goodbye,” “Take Care,” and “Chill Out”. So, what better way of giving your speech positive vibes than by using the shaka to help in organizing, and then remembering, what you are going to say.
Here’s how it works:
- Start with your “Why?” – What is the purpose of your speech – what difference do you want to make to how your audience will feel, think, and behave? What do you want them to do differently as a result of your speech? Write it down.
- Now think about your overarching message: what single most important message do you want to get across and you want your audience to remember? Write it down.
- Now think of all of the points you might want to make to support, explain or illustrate your message
Write all of them down and then circle your top three and discard the rest. Number the remaining three in order of importance with 1 being highest and 3 being the least important
Now you are ready to construct your Shaka Speech
- Your thumb is your opening and your introduction to your main idea. Start strong – ask a question, quote statistics, pose a challenge – and then tell your audience what this speech is going to explain or do for them (your message). Then say you are going to use three points, or three examples, or three stories (etc.) to do it.
- Then your next three fingers are the three points you identified above arranged in from the least important to the most important building to the summit of your speech. Assign each point to its finger and commit that connection to memory. Then think about how you will introduce, illustrate (with an example or some data or a story) and conclude, or move on from, each point. Consider what phrase or line you will use to move from one finger to the next (your transitions). These transitions will help you to keep to your message.
- Your little finger is your conclusion and call to action (which might be e.g. to take part in something, change something, think differently, or be aware of something). In your conclusion you should recap the three points and arrive back at your opening message before ending with a call to action.
As you write your speech, give it structure around the shaka and then use this as a way of remembering the points of your speech (like counting on your fingers).