The Republic Day on 26 January is a time for the country to celebrate our hard-fought freedom and it’s also a time to renew our commitment to playing a part in nation-building as envisioned by our forefathers.
You have a responsibility this Republic Day. You plan to address an adult gathering before the Indian Tri-colour, and you wish to make an impact.
You are at the right place. This guideline will help you draft a speech that makes an impact and inspire those you address. So, let’s get started.
First, get all the facts in place. Here’s a quick refresher.
Why is Republic Day celebrated?
On this day, India became a Republic. It was on 26 January 1950, the Constitution of India came into force.
What is special about 26 January?
The Indian freedom fighters, on 26 January 1930, promulgated the Declaration for Purna Swaraj (complete independence from British Rule).
Why does the Indian flag have three colours and a wheel?
The Indian flag was adopted in its present form on 22 July 1947 and raised at Red Fort on 15 August 1947.
Saffron: The top band in the flag represents strength and courage. White: The middle band represents peace.
Green: The bottom band represents fertility, growth, and auspiciousness of the land.
Dharma Chakra: The blue Dharma Chakra represents the truth and is central to the Indian flag.
The Dharma Chakra was first established as the Wheel of Law at the Sarnath Lion Capital in the 3rd century B.C. by Emperor Ashoka. It represents life in movement and death in stagnation.
Who is the Chief Guest in this year’s Republic Day celebrations in the capital?
You may or may not refer to the Chief Guest in this year’s Republic Day celebrations in Delhi, but if included, it will reflect a connection with the events in the capital.
Now that you have a quick background on the facts around India’s Republic Day, it’s time to begin drafting a speech that will make an impact on the audience.
Structure and elements of a Republic Day speech for a mature audience
Introduction: Welcome and thank the audience for coming together on this wonderful occasion.
Statement of Purpose: Tell them why all have come together. To unite and stand as one, in love and commitment to the nation.
Recall: Briefly recall why Republic Day is celebrated and touch upon the significance and meaning of the colours in the flag, and the significance of the Dharma Chakra in it. Connect the importance and relevance of the flag to challenges faced in contemporary times.
Highlight: The challenges and concerns before society and the nation. Briefly, touch upon contemporary concerns and challenges faced. Highlight the uniqueness of India – the richness of our pluralism; diversity of religion, language and culture; why we need to respect and maintain our unity in diversity.
Remind: Role and responsibility of all those gathered towards their family, society, and country.
Renew: Pledge and commit to upholding the values of our founding fathers and in teaching the younger generation the same.
Close: End with a loud Jai Hind!
Qualities of a great speaker
Understanding the audience profile: Understanding the audience’s demographics, interests, and beliefs is vital to connect with them. The difference between a speech and a great speech lies in connecting with the audience.
What you speak must resonate with the audience. It’s the only way they will be attentive, focused, and largely in agreement (even if not entirely) with what you are speaking.
Clarity of message: Be clear of the audience profile and what central message you wish to communicate. The content of the speech must revolve around the central message.
Using the emotive connect: Identify points that the audience cares about and is sensitive to. Republic Day is a day with high patriotic sentiment. However, not everyone responds to patriotic triggers in the same way.
Identify what will work with the audience and see how you can weave words to trigger a patriotic feeling, without pushing it. Use tone and hand gestures selectively to highlight certain parts of your speech. Used well, it will amplify the impact of your words.
Timing and spacing of the points: Great speakers are experts at timing their speech. Your speech must close at the allotted time or the time you set for yourself. Not before, not after. You can achieve it by setting up a timeline for each paragraph and then edit the content to ensure it concludes at the right time.
Space the main points and maintain its flow in your message, as explained in the speech structure above. At any point, if you forget some parts of the speech, don’t worry and don’t hesitate. Just move on calmly to the next point. Remember, your audience does not know your content. As long as the flow remains unbroken, it will find acceptance.
Maintaining universal eye contact: Poor speakers tend to keep looking at one person or in one direction. Great speakers keep moving their faces slowly towards every direction of the audience while maintaining eye contact with all faces possible.
One of the biggest secrets of connecting with the audience is eye contact. So, try and look at the maximum number of people in the audience as possible. Repeat the eye contact as you proceed with your speech.
Preparing for the speech:
Great speakers rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse until words come out naturally, and without any effort.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, delivered the famous “I Have a Dream…” speech in Washington, D.C.. It is recognized as one of the greatest speeches of all time. Few people know, Dr King wrote, edited and practiced his speech through the night. In the morning, he created history.
You now have all the elements of a great speech. Write one in your words, and make it your greatest speech yet!