A great speech starts long before you’re in front of your audience. It begins as soon as you start writing and preparing your speech, and both are central aspects of your training in public speaking. Keep the following tips in mind for the writing part and you’ll be on your way to delivering an engaging, impactful speech.
1. You Are In Control
When you’re writing your speech, keep in mind that you (and only you) control the content of that presentation. No one but you has any idea what you intended to cover in your speech. Therefore, even if you miss an intended point or joke, who would know?
Understanding you’re in full control of your speech will instantly give you the confidence to manipulate your speech as you please. You can subtract, add, or invert segments any way you like.
2. Write Well
Ideally you should keep your speeches short. Anyone training in public speaking can readily confirm the effectiveness of short, engaging speeches.
Be sure to avoid writing your speech as you would write an essay or a research project. When we’re training in our public speaking seminars, we always ask speakers to avoid multi-clause sentences, multi-numbered statistics, and multi-syllabic words. These overstuff your speech and rob it of its spontaneity and natural flow.
Apart from being brief, make sure your notes are easy for you to follow. Use bullet points, different colours, and highlighting to signal where new sections start.
3. Limit Your Use Of Numbers
Numbered lists might look good on screen, but when giving speeches they tend to bore people. The average listener cannot take in more than 4 numbers or statistical facts every 15 minutes, so it’s wise to limit the inclusion of these.
If numbers must be included, why not save these for a handout or perhaps a slide? Even better, visually express numbers by gesturing to a group of people in your audience of a particular size, or use your fingers.
4. Always Opt For Stories
Years of training in public speaking have taught us that stories engage people, while statistics can lull them to sleep. Using an anecdote or a funny story will provide a narrative your audience can identify with easily. Not only will you keep them fascinated, but your speech will be more effective.
5. Manage Your Audience’s Attention With Movement
Plan to move around during your speech. Even better, write your speech with movement in mind. For example, the introduction might have you positioned at the right side of the stage, then you will move on to centre stage for the first part, and so on. Moving around gives you time to catch your breath and prepare for the next 5 or 10 minutes of speaking. More importantly, it helps your listeners focus on your ideas better, as you guide them through the different segments of your presentation.
Using the tips above, you will be able to prepare a speech that will be interesting and effective. Writing a great speech and being thoroughly prepared to present will allow you to get your point across to the audience while keeping their attention and interest throughout the entire presentation.
By Niki Rebin