A Legendary Commencement Speech by Lou Holtz

By June 16, 2015March 30th, 2020SpeakerNotes

Want to know what to do right next time you step up to speak?

Watch Lou Holtz, legendary NCAA football coach and ESPN analyst delivering the 2015 commencement address at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

What did he do well?

He was Lou! Anyone who has ever seen Holtz speak is familiar with his folksy, storytelling approach and his “G” rated humor. Animated, engaged and enjoying himself, this commencement address finds a home in a listeners’ heart, teaches life lessons and instills hope for a bright tomorrow.

What are some key take-a-ways?

  • Come out from behind the lectern. There is nothing worse than feeling trapped behind a lectern. Holtz steps away from the lectern, moves around on the stage and owns that room. His movement and gestures were spontaneous, working together and supporting his message.
  • Know your stage. Be sure to understand the logistics of the stage you will be presenting on and avoid a lectern if at all possible. To boost confidence and get a sense of your surroundings, rehearse your presentation on the stage (or in the environment) where you will be speaking. There is simply no substitute for a structured rehearsal plan to ensure you deliver a powerful speech.
  • Be aware of your timing. Did you notice how many times Holtz glanced at his watch to see how he was doing with time? As a speaker you should be concerned about time. It is always okay to be under and it is never okay to be over the allotted time. Practice out loud and time yourself. Until you’ve rehearsed out loud you can’t truly tell what works and what doesn’t, what trips you up, and how long the presentation truly is!

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