How to Prepare and Deliver a Good Speech
Preparing a good speech can be challenging. For me, the anticipation of giving the speech makes it near impossible for me to even think about writing it. I get to the point where I don't even know where to begin. My senior year of high school, I forced myself to take a speech class so I could get over my fear of talking in front of people and I gained a lot more than just some confidence. I learned the proper ways to prepare a speech also. I wanted to share the details to people that were like me.
How to Prepare Your Speech
When preparintg your speech, think about the main point you are trying to make. Grab a sheet of paper and write that at the top of it. Underneath it, write down all the points you would like to make. They don't have to be perfect. This ISN'T your speech. More than likely, not everything you put down will make it onto your final speech. This paper is just for your ideas to flow. Even if it's nonsense, write it down.
Now that you got your ideas on paper, it's time to work on your real speech. If writing a speech doesn't come natural to you, pretend you are just talking to someone about your topic. Remember to keep in mind:
- Who is your audience? When writing your speech, you want to write for your audience.
- Don't stray too far from your main view.
Writing Out Your Speech
When you are ready to write out your speech on notecards, I suggest typing them in a Word document. Make two columns so it'll fit on the notecard and remember spacing for the top and bottom. Typing out your speech instead of writing it out by hand will ensure you are able to read it when you are in front of a crowd.
I also suggest instead of writing out your whole speech word-for-word, you use bullet points. This will ensure you keep eye contact with your audience and will keep you from losing your place and pausing. Only write down the main idea on the notecard.
Practicing Your Speech
Practicing your speech is probably the most important part of the whole speech process. This step allows you to grow comfortable with your speech. Practice all the time! You can practice in front of a mirror, practice in front of family and friends, and even record yourself.
It is suggested that you do record yourself. This allows you to see what your body language is like during your speech and it allows you to watch yourself give your speech. Remember, when you watch the recording back, keep in mind that that is what the audience will see too.
Do not be afraid to make changes to your speech. When you are giving your speech, you want to be comfortable with what you say. What you write down in your speech is different than actually saying the words out loud. You may stutter over words or feel awkward saying it. It's okay to change it to whatever you are comfortable with.
Giving Your Speech
This part is one that I had trouble with for a long time. It took many years of practice for me to get over talking in front of crowds. When it comes to having a fear of talking in front of people, you can get a lot of advice. But, no matter how much advice you get, the only way to feel 100% confident that you can talk in front of a crowd is to just do it. Eventually, you will get over your fear.
Until then, in order to comfortably make eye contact is to look in between peoples heads. Remember to address the whole audience. If you look straight ahead one time, make sure you look slightly left the second time. It can be hard with a lot of people, and you may not remember to look at the whole audience. The most important thing is to maintain eye contact.
When it comes to projection, a lot of people have a hard time with that too. Pretend that your voice needs to be loud enough to push over the person at the end of the room. If you speak too softly, the person isn't going to even hear you. Speak loud enough to "make the person fall over" with your booming voice.
Giving Group Speeches
Group speeches can be more difficult than giving individual speeches. If you are giving a group speech, I definitely suggest practicing your speech. Make sure that the presentation runs smoothly and point out each other's public speaking flaws, especially if your grade depends on them.
It is also suggested you learn everyone's part. Even if a member of your group doesn't show up, you are more than likely expected to still give your speech. Learning everyone's part ensures that you can cover anyone's part just in case they do not show.
Using PowerPoint with your Speech
PowerPoint is a great aid when giving a speech. But, PowerPoint can also hurt your presentation quality. A lot of people make the mistake of making their PowerPoint their presentation instead of yourself. PowerPoint is meant to be used as a tool.
When presenting with a PowerPoint presentation, remember to face the audience and, more importantly, do not read from the computer screen or projector screen. By talking while looking at the screen, you are talking to the screen and not the audience. Your voice will project more if you face the audience.
If you need to read from something, put the information on notecards and read from that. But don't forget to look up every once in a while to maintain eye contact with your audience.
When it comes to preparing and giving a speech, the best thing you can do is practice. Practicing will help you gain more confidence in what you are saying and allow you to get over your fear of speaking in front of others. Feel the feet on the ground before you get up there and remember, you can do it. You are capable and I know you can do it!
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