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How to Prepare and Deliver a Speech Effectively

 

How to deliver a speech effectively

 

 

1.       Focus on the Main Message

If you’ve been asked to give a speech, the first step is to choose a focused message. Even if you’ve been given a theme for your speech such as “inspiration” or “strength,” this is more a general umbrella under which your specific points (and point of view) will fall. Make a short list of five ideas for your speech. It can be helpful to write them in command form. “Strength” a brainstorm of five speech messages could include: “don’t ever give up, “overcome failure,” “build physical strength” and “know your strengths.” If you feel stuck for ideas, a reference to your current political or social context can bring new insight to your theme.

2.       Build Three Supporting Points

By focusing on your central message with supporting evidence, you strengthen it. A stronger message will resonate more with your listeners. To come up with supporting points, ask yourself “why” about the speech message you’ve selected. For example, for “don’t ever give up,” you’d ask, “Why should you never give up?” Make a list of several possible supporting ideas. Read through your finished list, and at the end, cross off the weaker ones that don’t support your main point.

3.       Keep your Audience in Mind

After looking into the central message and supporting points for your speech, you can flesh out the rest by considering your audience. Knowing who your audience are and what they are expecting from this encounter can help you pick the right tone to optimal effect.

4.       Be a Tactful Speaker

Some speakers choose to generalize complex topics in a speech because they think it’s easier for the audience to understand. It’s actually better to do the opposite. Listeners tend to connect better with concrete examples and personal stories, so embrace detail in your speech. A personal anecdote about why one shouldn’t give up is more effective than just saying not to. Areas where your passion and knowledge overlap are generally the richest. If appropriate to the context, don’t be afraid to tell a joke about the topic. A little self-deprecating humor goes down well with the crowd, one can always give it a shot.

5.       Brevity Is The Soul Of The Wit

Some of the most effective speeches of all times have been brief. “The Gettysburg Address” was only 15 minutes, while “I Have a Dream” was for 17 minutes. Aim for brevity. A good formula is to speak for less time than you’ve been asked to, as people tend to overestimate the attention span of their audience.

6.       Feedback is Important

As the speech has to be delivered to an audience, it is important to get feedback from theoretical listeners. Read your speech to someone you trust and ask for some honest feedback. In particular, it can be helpful to ask if anything is confusing or unclear. Your speech will have more impact if the message is engaging.

7.       Eye Contact is Important

During your speech, look at your audience while you are speaking.  Put the content of your speech, either fully written out or in bullet points, so you are not staring straight down at a piece of paper while you speak. Engaging your audience visually makes you appear secure and confident.

8.       Use Appropriate Gestures

A well-placed gesture can add humor or aid greater understanding of your speech. For optimal effectiveness, punctuate your speech with gestures when appropriate. If you’re a very nervous public speaker, try just resting your hands against the podium. It will make you feel steadier.

9.       Walk When Required

If your speech is informal, walking from one side of the stage to the other can help engage people sitting in different parts. It will draw your audience in and enhance your confidence.

10.     Use Props

If appropriate, bring props to punctuate your speech for your audience. This can be anything useful such as a graph to handout to all attendees or even a personal item to drive home your speech’s content. Props can personalize your speech and add interest or humor. Limit yourself to one or two props maximum per speech.

 

 

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter.

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Effective Presentation Skills

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The opportunity to pitch your services to a potential client, spell out your business plan to a potential business partner, or promote your business at an event may require that you give a presentation. Whether or not your presentation achieves its desired outcome can be affected by your skills as a speaker, so it’s important to step in front of your audience with your best foot forward. The following points explain how to prepare, deliver, and answer questions about a killer presentation.

How to Improve Your Presentation Skills: Preparation

Stay focused & on your toes: No one is impressed by a presentation that rambles. Rambling happens when the speaker is both self-indulgent and unorganized. Your purpose and prose must be specifically directed to interests of your listeners or they will mentally shut you down. Even if you hit upon a topic of interest, you will lose them quickly if they can’t follow the logic of your ideas. Outline the structure of your presentation in a way that people can follow easily. Research your audience to make sure the topic is truly of their interest.

Mind your rate of speech: You’ve got a lot of material to cover, so you talk fast to get through all of it. If you need to talk fast, your presentation is too long. Plus, fast talk makes you sound either nervous or like a stereotypical “fast talking'” salesperson. Rather, cut your presentation down. If you’re talking fast because you’re nervous, write “SLOW DOWN!” on each page of your notes.

Don’t tell cock & bull stories: There must be a reason you are presenting to these people. Most likely you want them to take action of some kind.  Maybe you want them to get involved in an activity, or to make something happen in their own lives. They are not likely to ­take action just because you tell them to do so. You need to connect with them emotionally and inspire them to change their behavior. Stories do more for emotional connection than any other speech technique. Audience is very smart. Tell them compelling stories. The more personal and authentic the stories, the better the response.

Making personal excuses: You downgrade the audience’s expectations by offering an excuse in advance for your poor performance. (E.g., “I’m so tired”; “I got in late last night.”) You’re giving yourself an excuse so you won’t feel so bad if you fail. Plus, nobody wants to hear you to crib & cry about your problems to begin with.  Regardless of how you’re feeling, show enthusiasm for being there and put your best foot forward.

Reading from slides will bore them to death : Your slides reflect your thinking on a subject, so you read your slides aloud to the audience in order to replicate your thought process. Presumably everyone in your audience can read, so it becomes boring if it is re-read. Rather, use slides as visual signposts for the points you’re making rather than a written version or summary of those points.

Use Media Only to Enhance: PowerPoint, visuals and video are powerful presentation tools when used correctly. But they can be disastrous distractions when misused.

Do not ask for extra time: You feel you don’t have sufficient time to communicate your important information, so you request extra time to communicate it. If there’s less time because you’re late, you’re adding injury to insult. If it’s because your presentation is too long, well, your presentation is too long. Rather, adapt your presentation so as to fit the allotted time. If you’re late, end your presentation when it’s scheduled to end.

Videotape yourself – You can’t know how you come off to people until you see it. Recording yourself is the best way to target the areas where you can improve.

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter.

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Debate: you win some, you lose some

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History has it, no leader in the world politics has reigned ever without defeating his rival in a war of words. Former president of the United States of America Barack Obama once said, “When students participate in debates, they learn to study issues in depth and form perspectives, a skill I use everyday.”

 

Let’s talk about some tips which will help you to not only speak your mind but also win the game :

 

  • Know your audience

Well, isn’t it true in all spheres? You play a hip hop song for a set of old men and women, no one is going to dance to the tune, let alone enjoy it. Same holds true for any argument. Until you know your listeners well, your debate won’t see a rising shine. Young Fellows, share examples from daily life; adults, show research; and by any means your audience is all about academicians, you go ahead and prove your mettle by displaying your analytical skills.

In short, give the audience what they are looking for.

 

  • Respect your rival

Respect and attention are two things you need to shower on your opponent. Please understand, he is just a player like you. None of your arguments should smell sarcasm or insult. It’s a gentleman’s game, so, attack their arguments, not them.

While doing so, don’t lose a word he says. An ideal speaker contests each point the rival raises in the field.

 

  • It’s a debate, not a war

Remember you are not there to win over your opponent. Your target is to win over the audience and once you do that with your humor and presence of mind, no one can steal the win away from you.

 

  • Polish your style

Run through your arguments before an audience hears them. Crisp, punchy, jargon-free sentences work better than lengthy technical passages. Aim for a relaxed, conversational speaking voice and a moderate pace in your delivery. Otherwise, you risk garbling or swallowing important words or phrases, and this can hurt your score. Maintain a firm posture and good eye contact, too, at all times.

 

  • Stay calm at all times

Be prepared that there will be times when the opponent might not follow the righteous behavior. He may try to hit you below the belt. Don’t get annoyed. Do not take the ridicule to heart and never call them names. Stay calm and composed, bring a smile on your face. Your job is to refute their arguments, do that! Stick to your argument with firmness, the audience will be compelled to listen to you.

 

  • Appreciating the right

Well, let’s not undermine the talent of the rival. He is up there for a reason and he must have prepared hard enough to beat you in the game. Whenever he is right, don’t forget to appreciate him. It won’t make you weak. It takes courage to call your arch rival, “You made a good point here.” And never forget, it’s chivalrous! It will help you garner bonus points among the audience.

 

  • Things you don’t know

You are human after all! Let’s leave “knowing everything” to god. If you don’t know something, avoid lying and simply say “I don’t Know”. It’s way better than entering into an unprepared war ground. It’s human and forgivable, therefore, stress on the subjects you are well-equipped with. It makes much more sense.

 

  • Bring Change

An hour of an argument won’t change anyone’s belief in the subject, but your words will have the power to influence the listeners to think about it deeply. Your words should plant some seeds of doubt and there my friend, your job is done.

 

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter.

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