I’ve seen lists of the ten things people fear most. Do you know what’s number one on those fear lists? No, it’s not death. It’s the fear of getting up in front of people to deliver a speech!
What the lists don’t show is that it’s the thought of forgetting what you want to say that creates the fear in the first place.

Since a speech is a sequence of thoughts, the Link System is the technique to apply.

First, extract key words from your speech or talk. A key word is a word or phrase that brings the entire thought to mind, reminds you of that thought. Try it once, and you’ll see that it’s a simple thing to do. Read over your speech (which you wrote, so the assumption is that you know what you want to say) and underline a word or phrase that will remind you of each particular thought.

Then—Link those underlined key words. That’s all. Because the best way to deliver a speech is thought for thought, not word for word, the Link of key words is really all you need.

The speech excerpt on the following page was delivered at a PTA meeting. Read it over once and you’ll see that a Link of the four words in the left margin would remind you of that entire speech.


Ladies and Gentlemen:
I’m sure you’re already aware of the problems that exist at this school. Certainly you’re aware of the crowded conditions of the classrooms; a situation that has existed for some time now.


Have you taken a close look at some of the seats and desks used by our children—when they’re lucky enough to have them? In a recent survey, just about every third seat and every third desk proved to be in extremely poor condition and should be replaced. We’ve received many estimates for repairing or replacing all seats and desks where necessary, but so far no action has been taken.


Aside from ourselves, the parents, our teachers are the most important people involved in the upbringing and teaching of our children. At times, they are more important than we are. And yet they earn less than the man who takes care of your car, your teeth, your hair, your insurance, your clothes, or your plumbing! This situation must be remedied if we value the welfare and well-being of our children.


Did your child tell you about the fire-drill fiasco of last week? Did he or she tell you that one of the alarms did not sound and that many teachers and children were not aware that a drill was in progress? Have you heard that one exit door was stuck and wouldn’t open? Many children had to be led to another exit, which was being used by others. Had there really been a fire—you can imagine what the tragedy would have been.