How to Mentally Prepare for a Speech

Alright, so you have chosen your topic (Select a Topic for a Speech), written your speech (Write a Speech), and now you are ready to present, or are you? This how-to will help you to prepare mentally and physically for your speech so that you can do your best!


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    Practice your speech using your outline. Do this a couple of times and each time use your outline less and less.
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    Condense your outline into fifteen words that you can put on your note card. As you become familiar with the flow of your speech this will become easier. These should be key words that help you to remember the flow of the speech. Don't memorize the speech but memorize the flow.
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    Practice your speech using your note card. If you are using any visual aids incorporate those as well.
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    Time yourself. When practicing, time yourself to make sure that you are near your time goal. At this point, your presentation should be a little too long (couple minutes or so for a ten minute speech) because when you actually present you will go faster than when you practice (This will not happen as much as you gain experience).
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    Recreate the location where you will give your speech and practice there, as realistically as possible. This will allow you to get a realistic picture in your head as to what your presentation will look like. Bring some friends along to listen as well. Feedback is always good.
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    Don't overdo it! You don't want your presentation to look rehearsed, it should be very natural and conversational, so don't practice too much.
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    Get a good night's sleep. You want to be refreshed when it comes time to present!
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    Eat a good meal, but don't overeat. You don't want your stomach rumbling, but you also don't want to be groggy.
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    Deal with those nerves. The tips below should help you to deal with your nervousness. Remember though, a little bit of nerves is good, it will help you to present excitedly and passionately.


  • Think realistically. If you are giving a controversial speech or one that the audience maybe doesn't want to hear, think realistically don't envision roaring applause but do envision them respecting what you have to say.
  • Release nervous energy. If you are really nervous before presenting, flex your calves or ball up your fists. This will help to get rid of the adrenaline going through your body because of your excitement. If you start to shake while presenting take a couple steps, if possible, this will also get rid of some of that energy and give you a chance to regain control of those muscles.
  • Tips regarding presentation style. As you follow the above steps, not only will you get into a rhythm in speaking, but you will also become more and more aware of what your body is doing as you speak. Below are some basic tips regarding presentation style.
    • Stand strong! To spread your weight out evenly, your feet should be a few inches apart (a little bit less than shoulder width). This will help you to stop swaying from side to side and allow you to stand confidently.
    • Dress to impress! More accurately dress appropriately. The first thing that your audience will see is what you are wearing, so dress in an appropriate manner for the occasion and for your topic.
    • Start with a deep breath. Before beginning to speak, glance at your notes, look at the audience, take a deep breath (but not a noisy one), and begin!
    • Speak so that everyone can hear and understand! You want to speak with a good pace that reveals your excitement and passion about your topic, but don't speak too fast! You also will want to speak so that everyone in the room can hear, but don't deafen them!
  • Be comfortable in silence. There is no need to say "um" or other filler words. Pauses are to your advantage. Use them to emphasize important points or if you need time to think. Just remember that no one is hurrying you, they have given you time to speak, so make sure you are doing your best.
  • Visualize success. Remember, you care about what you are saying, you have put in the time and effort. Have a positive attitude--you will do great!

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Categories: Public Speaking