Throughout our lives, different unexpected events snatch us from our comfort zone, forcing us to develop skills that until that day we didn’t even consider. One of those unexpected events may be a graduation speech at your university, or a speech that may get you your dream job, or even a wedding speech. What do all of these have in common? You guessed – a lot of work and dedication!
Besides work and dedication, there is another challenging step you must take in order to ensure a great speech. And that is the management of fear. Indeed, fear is one of the hardest feelings to undertake. Still, in order to guarantee the success of your speech, you must overcome it.
But where does this fear come from? It comes from insecurities like fear of failure, forgetting words or misunderstanding. Nevertheless, the “fearless dragon” which all of us must slay in order to make our voices heard is the fear of public speaking. And the best way to cope with this fear is to be well prepared. So, are you ready for the fight?
You may have heard that most successful speakers improvise their speech just before entering the stage. This may or may not be true. Improvisation on the stage is common for experienced speakers; nevertheless, the best improvisation is prepared improvisation. When you are out there, there is no turning back, therefore make sure not to seem like a fool talking nonsense. You can ensure a successful speech by taking the time to prepare for it.
Therefore, in the following words, we will offer you a step by step preparation for the important speech that you’re about to hold. Take a pen and start writing!
Step 1 – Choose Your Desired Topic and Core Message
Making sure that your core message is well defined is crucial because your entire speech will spin around it. If you’re not sure where to start with your core message, think about creating an “Elevator Pitch” which will help you focus on the main points and values you want to get across, you can then expand on this as necessary within your speech.
Step 2 – Make Sure Your Speech is Well-Structured
A speech without a structure it’s not a speech. It is a lousy chit chat. If your speech doesn’t have a flow, your audience will quickly lose interest.
- Start by creating a catchy message.
- In the body, you may introduce an engaging and funny story.
- In the end, a ground shaking conclusion must be presented.
Step 3 – Start Composing Your Speech
Try to relax, and start writing. Make sure that everything your write is aligned with your personality and perspective and can be put into words. Write it as easy as possible, so you will not encounter problems remembering it.
Just as an advice. After your speech is finished, writing services may help you polish your speech and make it even better. It’s the speech that will turn your life around, so make it count.
Step 4 – Practice Your Speech Using Gestures
First off, after writing your speech, you should start practicing it in front of the mirror. While practicing, pay attention to your tone and make sure you have a coherent and clear flow of words. You may want to exercise your gestures as well, but do not try to learn them mechanically. Instead, let everything flow naturally.
Your body language will have a direct effect on how the audience perceives you so make sure you are aware of how your gestures come across to other people and try to ensure that you’re being open and welcoming with your movements.
Step 5 – Practice in Front of Other People
If your speech is an important one, make sure to rehearse it in front of an audience, so, when the day comes, the pressure won’t be so suffocating. Practicing in front of a live audience will improve your ability to ignore silly sounds and feelings that might put you in an awkward situation. You can exercise it with your family or friends. The benefit is that you will receive a feedback as well.
Step 6 – Deliver Your Speech
Keep a calm and relaxed state of mind and everything will work just fine. After delivering a speech, don’t throw it under your bed and be done with it. You should learn from this experience to become a better public speaker. You may write a short list of what you did well and what you did wrong, so next time you’ll know. Keep improving yourself, and public speaking will become a child’s play.
Some Extra Tips
In order to make your speech even better, let us teach you two important rules that might come in handy.
The 10 Minutes Rule
Instead of being concise, most people feel the need to add a lot of nonsense talk to their speech. They talk and talk and they just don’t stop. In the present day, people’s attention span is much lower than before, therefore a 10 minutes-long speech may be just right. If you manage to do this, you are already better than 50% of the public speakers. Keep in mind, a short concise speech is a hundred times more powerful than a long and boring one.
The 7-38-55 Rule
While delivering a speech, you shouldn’t focus only on your words. According to the 7-38-55 rule (created by Albert Mehrabian), your total liking consists of:
- 7% – verbal liking
- 38% – voice and tone liking
- 55% – facial liking
According to this theory, only 7% of communication is verbal, and other 93% is non-verbal. Although this rule is being criticised, we cannot deny that everything from the tone of your voice to the posture and facial expressions will influence the impact made by your speech. Mastering all these factors will be of great use in your future career and personal life. Hidden messages and subtle signals may be sent using these methods. Therefore, make sure to study this rule and figure out how it can affect the value of your speech.
Now, let’s take a look at 5 DON’Ts of public speaking.
- Make sure that you are well rested and sober.
- Do not chew gum.
- Do not start your sentences with “So”
- Do not end your sentences with “Right?” or “Ok?”
- Do not detract from your core message.
Everyone wishes to deliver a great speech, but what makes a speech great? A person, who doesn’t connect with his audience, even if his information is revolutionary, will still be mediocre. When delivering a speech the most important thing is to connect with your public, emotionally and mentally. The information you wish to provide to your public is important but not as important as your way of presenting it.
Justin puts forward some really great points for giving the speech of your life but I’d like to add a few more tips that I’ve gleaned from giving my own speeches over the years, as well as having to sit through hundreds of them myself.
- Use your big screen sparingly: If you have access to a large screen or projector, you often feel as though you have to have some form of information on it at all times in order to back-up and validate what you are saying. Don’t! Use background images and icons to enhance what you’re saying, but don’t let your background detract from your message.
- Beware PowerPoint: The worst speeches and presentations I’ve seen have been people reading their PowerPoint word for word, even though the whole thing’s on the screen behind them. If you’re going to do that then you may as well just give the presentation out as a hand-out or email it and not bother with the speaking part.
- Keep your head up: We all need to keep track of where we are in a speech but try not to read off a script with your head down. Make notes and bullets points that you can easily reference just by glancing at your notes rather than having to read through the entire thing to get your point across.
- Don’t forget to move: A lot of the time being on a stage or in front of a crowd is quite daunting and you feel like you need to be rooted to the spot in order to keep the audience’s attention. In fact, moving around the stage can help you engage different areas of the audience and keep their attention focused for longer.
My finals thoughts are that whatever type of speech you’re giving, you need to come across as enjoying yourself. If you are seen to enjoy and believe in the subject matter you’re talking about then your audience will be drawn in too.