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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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Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking

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An average person ranks the fear of public speaking higher than the fear of death. The truth is, this fear could be hurting your professional and personal life. Unless you’re a gregarious extrovert, you feel nervous, your palms sweat, and your stomach ties itself into knots before speaking to a group or getting up in front of the audience.

The fear of public speaking is very real. However, there are techniques to help you overcome your fear. There are even ways to help harness your energy in a positive way.

Get Organized

When you organize all of your thoughts and material it helps you to become much more relaxed and calm. When you have clear, organized thoughts it can greatly reduce your speaking anxiety because you can better focus on the one thing at hand, giving a great speech.

Practice, Practice & Practice

Nothing takes the place of practicing and preparing for your speech. Write out a script of your key points, but don’t read from the script word for word. Prepare for your speech so well that you could answer any possible question thrown at you.

Give your Speech to another Person

There are plenty of people you can practice on. Be sure to tell the person to be completely honest with you in their critique.

Examples of people you can practice on:

  • Your friends
  • Your parents
  • Your girlfriend/wife
  • Your boyfriend/husband

PowerPoint- Make or break

Sometimes, having a PowerPoint can be your best friend. It can help you if you lose your train of thought, keep your audience engaged, and give people a good place to grab notes and main points from. However, do not put paragraphs on one slide.

Focus on the material, not the audience

Focus on delivering your material in the best way possible. Don’t worry about audience reactions.

Keep a check on the Rate of Speech

Talking fast during a speech interferes with your breathing patterns. If you talk too fast you will breathe less. Feeling short of breath will make you panicked and more susceptible to fear. Practice slowing down when you speak, and you will be more calm and relaxed.

Practice in Front of a Mirror

If time and money are issues, there’s always the free mirror in your bathroom. Start with simply smiling at yourself. You’d be surprised by how hard that is for some people. Make eye contact with yourself. See? You’re doing great.

Watch for Feedback and Adapt to It

Keep the focus on the audience. Gauge their reactions, adjust your message, and stay flexible. Delivering a canned speech will guarantee that you lose the attention of or confuse even the most devoted listeners.

 

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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