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How to Prepare and Give a Speech

Seven Methods:Plan Your SpeechWrite the SpeechPractice the SpeechOn the Day of Your SpeechDuring Your SpeechSample Persuasive SpeechesSample Informational Speeches

Being asked to prepare and give a speech can seem really intimidating when you've never done it before. Don't worry! You'll be a public speaking pro in no time if you follow these simple tips.

Method 1
Plan Your Speech

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    Identify the topic of your speech. Choose a single focused message rather than trying to cover multiple topics.
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    Pinpoint your audience. Are you speaking to children or adults? Are you speaking to people who know nothing about your topic or people who are experts on your topic? Understanding your audience will help you to target your speech appropriately.
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    Consider your motives. A good speech answers a need that the audience has. Are you trying to make your audience laugh? Are you trying to build their morale, or are you communicating a sober and direct message so that you can change their behavior? These questions will set the mood and tone of your speech.
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    Think about the setting. Is this a speech for a small group or a speech to deliver before a large audience? You can be more informal before a small audience, but write a more formal speech for a large audience.

Method 2
Write the Speech

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    Write a succinct, single-sentence statement about your subject. Try to write something that will hook your audience so that you immediately grab their attention.
    • Use an anecdote or a quote. Sometimes, someone else has already said it better than you ever will. Just be sure to credit your source.
    • Be cautious about opening with a joke unless you know your audience well. You may think that a joke is funny, but your audience may find it humorless or even offensive.
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    Choose 3 to 5 supporting points for your topic. Make sure that your points are concise and direct.
    • You can start by looking at generic sources like an encyclopedia or Wikipedia, but you need to fact check your ideas with more authoritative sources after you generally understand your subject.
    • Draw on your own experience. If you have a long history with your topic, your experiences and personal stories can be great resources. Just keep these stories succinct so that you don't ramble and lose the audience's attention.
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    Decide whether you want to write out your speech or to outline the speech on index cards.
    • Consider your comfort level with the topic. If you know the topic well and can improvise easily, then use index cards.
      • Use 1 card for the introduction. This card should include your opening statement.
      • Use 1 or 2 cards for each supporting point. Then, create 1 card for the conclusion which ties back to the main idea of your speech.
      • Write brief sentence fragments or even single words on your cards. These words or fragments should contain key phrases that remind you of what you want to say.
    • If you feel insecure or don't know the subject well, write out the words of your speech exactly as you want to say them.
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    Decide whether you want to use visual aids. You may create a Prezi or a PowerPoint presentation to go along with your speech, or you may choose to use paper-based charts and graphs.
    • Keep the visuals to a minimum. You want them to aid your speech, not to overshadow it.
    • Make sure that the audience can read the content of your visuals. Too big is better than not big enough.
    • Check the facilities of the room in which you will be speaking. If you need Internet or you need a projection screen, be sure that the facility has the equipment.
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    Prepare handouts if your subject is detailed and technical. That way, you can cover the most important points in your speech while giving the audience a reference for the more detailed points that they can keep for later.
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    Write out a brief biographical paragraph about yourself. If someone will be introducing you before your speech, then providing the correct information beforehand will be helpful.

Method 3
Practice the Speech

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    Set a timer. You should know how long your speech needs to be. If you can't deliver the speech within the given amount of time, then you may need to shorten it or lengthen it. Remember to include time for a Q&A period if appropriate.
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    Practice your speech in front of a friend or a mirror. Practice looking up at your audience so that your eyes aren't always on your notes.
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    Speak slowly and enunciate clearly. Pause between the sections of your speech so that your audience can digest the information.
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    Mark up your speech as you go with a pen or pencil. If words sound unnatural to you or a sentence is awkward as you speak it, mark it out and edit it to make it sound natural.
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    Make a video recording of yourself as you make the speech. Analyze your appearance, your body language and your delivery.
    • Make sure that your gestures are natural and not too frenetic. Alternatively, don't fix your arms at your sides or keep your hands latched to the podium.
    • If you make the speech to a friend and the friend offers constructive criticism, try to be open to what he or she has to say.
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    Practice more than once. If you've delivered your speech in rehearsal multiple times, then you will feel much more confident on-stage.

Method 4
On the Day of Your Speech

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    Dress appropriately. If you need to appear authoritative, choose formal business attire. Choose a color that flatters you and keep bold accessories to a minimum.
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    Make sure that you have all of your materials in order. Bring your visuals, your tablet or laptop and your speech copy.
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    Ask for a sound check. If you're in a small room, ask someone to stand at the back of the room and see if he or she can hear you. In a larger facility, practice using the microphone so that your speech is neither too faint nor distorted.
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    Set up your equipment and supplementary materials. Make sure that the computer, projection screen and easels are functional and positioned so that they are visible to your audience.
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    Decide what to do with your handouts. You should either place them on a table for audience members to retrieve or pass them out in an organized fashion.
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    Ask for a glass of water. If your speech is lengthy, then you will need some water to moisten your throat.
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    Look in a mirror before you go onstage. Check both the front and the back of your outfit and make sure that your hair is neat and that your makeup, if you're wearing any, is not smudged.

Method 5
During Your Speech

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    Look around the audience and don't focus on only one focal point.
    • Make eye contact with members of your audience. If eye contact is too intense for you, look just above their heads at a point such as a clock or a painting.
    • Move your eyes around your audience so that everyone feels included in the presentation.
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    Speak slowly and try to breathe normally. The natural adrenaline rush that you will have in front of your audience may make you want to speak much too quickly. And have a confident smile on your face.
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    Laugh at yourself if something goes wrong. If by chance, you forget your speech, then simply say thank you and leave the stage. Your audience will find you much more easy to relate to, and you won't lose their confidence in your knowledge of your subject.
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    Give your audience a chance to interact with you, (ask them questions, and have them ask you questions so you can touch up on some points that you overlooked and/or left out,)before leaving the podium at the end of your speech. Acknowledge your audience with a smile, a brief nod or a slight bow, if appropriate.

Sample Persuasive Speeches

Sample Political Speech

Sample Speech Asking for Donations

Sample Informational Speeches

Sample Orientation Speech

Sample Encouraging Speech

Tips

  • Be loud and clear. Avoid the feeling of inferiority. This will boost up your confidence.
  • Be confident while speaking. Just feel like no one is better than you.
  • It is better to select a topic you are comfortable with. By doing so, you will be less anxious and stressed.
  • Speak with conviction and believe what you say.
  • Remember - the greater crime is to bore the audience with a speech that is too lengthy. Keep your speech succinct, and keep it within the time limit.
  • Take a deep breath or make a pause after a sentence every once in a while. This will catch your audience attention.
  • If you decide to read directly from a document, print the document in a large and clear font. Put the pages into sleeve protectors and put the sleeve protectors into a binder so that you can easily turn pages without losing your place or place two papers at a time side by side with your current page on the left and the next one on the right. Make sure to slide the next page over when you start it, so that the other pages are underneath. This way you won't lose your place. Don't forget to look up at your audience frequently so that you can keep them engaged.
  • Always remember to project your voice. For example, focus on some people at the back of the room and speak as If you were addressing them.
  • Don't be scared thinking that you might go wrong. Be confident, and if your speech is a little different than the others on language or anything else, don't feel inferior, but be fearless.
  • Don't stress out, people will listen to you and be polite so you can focus on your speech the whole time.☺.

Warnings

  • Don't forget to prep for Q&A session after your speech. Try to anticipate some questions that the audience may ask, and then rehearse your answers.

Things You'll Need

  • Written speech or index cards
  • Friend,Teacher or family member for practicing
  • Video recording device
  • Computer or tablet for presentations
  • Charts and easel for presentations
  • Microphone for a large room
  • Handouts
  • Glass of water
  • Mirror
  • Appropriate outfit

Article Info

Categories: Public Speaking