How to Prepare for a Speech

Giving a speech can be daunting. Most everyone feels a little nervous before they have to give a speech. Not only is this normal, but it's healthy! Being nervous prepares your body for what's coming.

Here are some ideas to help you prepare for you speech. Use some of them or all of them. Find out what works for you!

1. Write out your speech--word for word. If you don't know what you're going to say, you won't say it. Sit down and write out what you want to communicate to your audience. Very few people can stand in front of an audience and capture their attention for 20 minutes or more with no preparation.

2. Practice. Practice. Practice. This looks different for different people. You may read your speech over and over again. You may try to memorize it.You may imagine the audience in front of you or picture them in an embarrassing situation that takes the attention off you. Some people suggest practicing in front of a mirror. This may be good if you're worried about what you'll look like. Don't stress though. Most people are glad you're up there instead of them.

3. Something that helps me the most is practicing in the location that I'll be giving the speech. If you have early access to the location, take advantage of it. Having already given your speech in the correct location can greatly boost your confidence.

4. Time it. If you're shooting for a certain amount of time then time your speech while you practice. Try not to look at it while you go. Although you're trying to fill time, you still want your speech to flow naturally. It's better to go a little short on time while delivering a great speech than for people to wonder why it took you an hour to say what you could have said in 20 minutes.

5. Take the audience on the journey. This can be a tough one so don't expect it to happen right away. You have knowledge that you've gained and that's why you're giving a speech. In gaining that knowledge, you went on a journey. You explored, researched, studied, and asked questions. You may have even made some mistakes. If you can recreate this journey through your speech, your audience will have a more memorable experience.

6. Own your speech. Sometimes you just have to reassure yourself that you know what you're talking about. You're the one giving the speech for a reason!

Giving a speech is a great privilege and a wonderful experience. If you can incorporate any of these ideas into your speech you'll be well on your way to delivering a great speech! Best of luck!

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