How to prepare a speech?

Speech is communication through talking or speaking to an audience. A speech might be formal or informal. Preparing for a speech is one of the best ways to ensure you give an effective presentation. Read this blog to know how to prepare a speech.

How to prepare a speech for public speaking?

1. Practice gives perfection:

Practice your speech a few weeks before the day. Record yourself and check your speed and way of speaking and also observe your body language and gestures. Practice will help you get more comfortable with your speech. Don’t try to copy someone’s style. Create your own style, make it unique. Know the subject of your speech well because confidence is crucial while addressing the audience on the stage. Practice so much that one day you will master the art of public speaking

2. Grab attention of your audience: 

Always try to start your speech with a question, story or a hook statement. It’s a way to start your speech with ease and find a common ground with the audience. And the audience will give more attention to what you are speaking. Capturing the audience’s attention in the beginning is one of the essential points in public speaking. You should deliver your big idea or proposition during the first few minutes of your speech. This will be your “hook.” As soon as you start speaking you should start stating all of the points of your speech. This way you will obtain and hold your audience’s attention quickly. 

3.Use proper Body Language :

Researches show that 60% of communication is done non verbally. It is very important to understand how to present yourself in front of audience. Body language cannot be learnt, it should come naturally. You can learn just a few gestures which are important for your overall personality and you can practice them. By keeping this tip in mind you can master the art of public speaking. Generally, the audience judges the speaker by its body language. Here are some basic gestures which you should keep in mind :

  1. Repeating words or unnecessary throat-clearing shows your under confidence and nervousness.
  2. Slight Movement of eyes in every direction of the room and making eye contact with the audience shows your confidence and the art of public speaking.
  3. When answering the questions, if a person starts adjusting his clothes or glasses, he might be lying or weaving the stories. It also shows that the person is not confident enough.
  4. Stand straight while entering the stage and speaking to your audience, it will show your confidence and expertise in what you will speak.

4. Stage effectiveness: 

Don’t speak your speech like you are reading a book . Try to memorize a few parts of your speech and the rest of the words should flow naturally. Otherwise you can use note cards on which you can write important points or the outline. Just use them for reference, if you get stuck and don’t read them. Also use the stage to your advantage, keeping moving and doing something on stage. This will keep your audience engaged continuously. Try to use your body to emphasize on what you are telling your audience. Standing behind the podium or the microphone during the whole speech will make your audience feel bored.

5. Simplify and make it concise:

Make sure you mention all of your talking points for the speech. By stating the order of your talking points, you will provide an overview of what the presentation will be like and what it will cover. Also try to present a summary after every part of the speech which will help you to grab your audience’s attention. You will tell the audience what your goals for that day, and during your speech explain every point and finalize by summarizing each of them.

6. Know your audience:

It’s very important that you should know your audience because you should be communicating to the people you wanted to give your message, based on your goals. Know exactly the type of audience that will be attending your speech. So that you can give your speech based on the type of audience attending your speech. Also, it will make you feel as if you’re standing in front of a group of people that share the same interests which will help you to connect with them easily. 

7. Take the feedback:

It is important for the speaker to receive feedback from the audience. As there’s nothing wrong with receiving feedback whether it is positive or negative. Take it as constructive criticism and work on it. It will help you in becoming a successful public speaker. 

Public speaking techniques

1.How to begin a speech

You need to engage your audience in the first 3 minutes. Because this is the time that determines how successful your speech will be. So ensure you use the right hook to engage the audience right after you step on stage.

This hook can be a one-liner, a joke or some shocking facts. You can also grab with your voice modulation. It depends on those precious few minutes that they will stick with you for the rest of your presentation or not.

2. Storytelling

You should know how to tell your story to grab the attention of your audience. Just speaking out what you have learnt makes it boring and nobody wants to listen to a boring speaker. People love to listen to a good story which draws their attention and engages them till the end. A good storyteller can transform an ordinary story into an adventure and creates a memorable experience for the audience. Nobody can tell your stories in the way you can which makes you unique. So, if you want to be an effective speaker, start your speech by a story, ask a question or any hook statement which triggers the curiosity of the audience. Make sure your story is relatable and relevant. To become a good storyteller, you should have effective communication skills.

3. Show as if you are master of your field

You don’t need to become an expert on your material but your confidence, clarity of mind and way of speaking makes your image as an expert or master in your field, in the minds of people. Be passionate about what you speak. Make sure you tell about what you are sure. Don’t ever misguide people and give them false information. Public speaking is not just about your expertise on the main topic but also the way you engage with your audience also matters a lot. Engage them in different activities like brainstorming, quiz or repeating something aloud. The main thing which matters is you need to keep going. Don’t stop even if you forget something or get nervous. Just move ahead. As it is said, “Life must go on”. 

4. Avoid conversation fillers

At times we get stuck and there’s an awkward silence while speaking. We all use filler words into our conversations like “Um,” “uh,” “like”, “so” and many more such words without even realizing it. Overuse of these words make you sound less confident or sometimes confused. You need to overcome this habit to become a better public speaker. Practice as many times as you can to eliminate these words from your speech. At the time of practice, speak like you are speaking on stage. It’s just like giving mock tests before the actual exam. You can also try recording video of your speech, so that you can notice your mistakes in the recording.

5. Use of effective gestures

Use of gestures should be purposeful and natural. It is very easy to tell about an inexperienced speaker by his body movement and hand gestures. Natural movement during a speech is a sign of an effective public speaker. Hand gestures and even walking across the stage can be a good public speaking technique. Just make sure it seems natural and not intentional. 

Movement can make you appear more comfortable and help your audience relate to you. Standing at a podium reading from prepared notes will make your audience bored or they might leave the room. Instead, move around the stage and use your hands to emphasize on the important points. Make eye contact with the audience with a smile on your face and activeness in your body.

6. Self-consciousness

One of the reasons so many of us fear public speaking is because we think that we’ll make a mistake or what others might be thinking of us. Even sometimes lack of practice or past failures make us conscious on the stage. Of course, practice can reduce the chances of mistakes and you’ll be more confident. You can memorize a few starting lines so that there’s a flow in speaking and the rest of the words comes naturally. This will start boosting confidence in you and reduces your fear. Remember that the people in the audience are also humans like you. Concentrate on just talking to them and you’ll be at your best. 

7. Relax and calm your mind

Last but not least, relaxing your mind is very important before you start speaking on the stage. It’s normal to be nervous about public speaking. Most of us have a fear of public speaking. It’s so common there’s a term for fear of public speaking which is known as – “glossophobia”. Public speaking fear is a common form of anxiety. It can range from slight nervousness to panic on stage. Those who have never suffered from shyness have no idea how frustrating it can be! Here are some tips to overcome public speaking fear

Still, you should try to relax and calm your mind. If there’s something that normally calms you down in stressful situations, try using that right before your speech.

Or else you could try some popular calming techniques like meditation, physical exercise, aromatherapy, music or sometimes positive affirmations may also work.

What are the major parts of speech?

Keep in mind that it shouldn’t be like you are reading aloud an essay. Your way of speaking should be different from reading a page, and public speakers should keep in mind this thing when they prepare for their speech.

A proper formal speech should consist of an introduction, a body which gives facts and details, and a conclusion. Think of main points, rather than thinking of complete material for the body. This will help speakers remember to keep it simple. Your goal should be to communicate a few important points and rest everything should be supporting them.

Introduction of speech

The introduction should get the audience’s attention, describe the topic, give a hook statement or an overview of the speech. Start with giving the mindmap of your speech and then go with the topic which creates interest among the audience and engages them.

Transitions

A transition is a change or shift from one topic to another. This transition should feel natural and in a flow. Transitions are crucial for public speakers. Speakers can emphasize on transition points with transitional words and phrases, visual aids, body language and voice modulation. 

Transitional Words and Phrases

These words and phrases helps in making a transition and connecting with upcoming sentences: 

Contrasting conjunctions:
  • But 
  • Nevertheless 
  • Yet 
  • On the other hand 
  • Besides
  • However 
  • On the contrary 
  • Comparatively 
  • Although 
Connecting words:
  • Also 
  • Similarly 
  • Specifically 
  • In fact 
  • Again 
  • Moreover 
  • Indeed 
  • Furthermore 
  • Additionally 
  • For example
  • Likewise
Concluding:
  • In other words
  • In short
  • Therefore 
  • Thus
  • Finally 
  • Overall
  • Accordingly 
  • Consequently

Visual Aids for Transitions

Visual aids such as slides and handouts are a great way to guide the audience through your transitions. A slide or handout with topic headings printed on it is a good road map for a speech, preparing the audience for any twists and turns that may come up.

Conclusion of speech

Concluding your speech is a good habit for a public speaker. The conclusion should summarize main points. Your listeners may not put everything together on their own, so you should make it easier for them by summarizing your argument and reviewing central ideas in the conclusion. You may ask for feedback or give a call to action in the end. Or you might end with a short Q&A session.

Check out this blog, to improve public speaking skills.

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