How to Give a Speech

How to Give a Speech

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Most of us dread making a speech to a group, but if you think of it as simple communication or helping others, you won’t be nervous.

Step 1: Know the subject
Know your subject and align your message with audience expectations.

Step 2: Prepare
Prepare by role-playing the speech with a cohort to challenge your points. Focus on one topic and set out your speech to cover issues.

Step 3: Write it down
Capture key elements on paper in draft, and refine and edit a day or two later. Be concise and simple, using words that are easy to pronounce.

Tip
Limit complex formulations, big words, and too many statistics in your speech to avoid losing your audience.

Step 4: Summarize
While you’re preparing, summarize your speech in one sentence to be sure you’re on point. Jot notes to trigger stories and metaphors you will use to emphasize important information.

Step 5: Emulate others
Study other speakers and absorb effective tendencies to enrich your presentation.

Tip
Allusions to people, history, or events must be brief and widely familiar.

Step 6: Practice and smile
Practice in front of a mirror, remembering to smile and gesture naturally. Outline your speech on note cards, but try to get “off book” as soon as you can so your delivery will flow.

Step 7: Project your voice
Project and modulate your voice, using emotion to telegraph key points.

Tip
As long as it’s not overdone, humor is always a good idea.

Step 8: Interact with the audience
Interact with the audience as you speak, permitting questions and moving around, keeping the presentation dynamic.

Did You Know?
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