Speaking is something that seemingly only a few are naturally good at. That is probably why even the most excellent public speakers still jot down their thoughts before stepping up to the podium. Here’s how to make a sensational speech in five clear-cut, no-fuss steps:
Step 1: Research, research, and then research some more
Treat research like the foundation of your speech. No matter how eloquent you sound, you’re going to put off your audience if you spew out inaccurate information or inappropriate language. Before you even think about penning anything down, you have to know:
Depending on the group you are speaking to, your audience will likely comprise different people with one or two things in common—work, belief system, education, or organization, among many other things. Find out what those one or two common things are, and you have your “guy.”
Once you know who your guy is, you can focus on the things you need to work around to write a good speech that he will appreciate.
Researching your topic will give you all the bulk and substance you need for the contents of your speech. Knowing more about your subject will provide you with the confidence to speak about it publicly. It will give you a sense of authority you need to inform, instruct, or educate your audience.
Most importantly, researching about the topic makes sure that the information you share in your speech is factual and accurate. It is the secret on how to make a speech that has substance and depth.
Step 2: Have an outline and a plan
An outline will serve as your guide map to navigate your thoughts cohesively throughout the speech. You cannot learn how to make a speech without first learning how to plan it and make a good outline.
What is your tone?
Based on what you know about your audience and your topic, what do you think will be the best tone for your speech? If your topic is lighthearted and your audience is composed of casual people, you can adopt a lighter and more conversational tone. If you are talking about serious issues in a business or scientific setting, a more formal and serious style will be more applicable.
What is the order?
Putting topics in the correct order will help you make more sense and create a more meaningful and lasting impact. Imagine yourself discussing the life stages of a plant. You will make more sense if you start from seed, sprouting, and work your way up until the plant germinates and dies. If you start with a dying plant and discuss a seedling afterward, your audience will likely get confused.
Step 3: Write as you speak
Spoken language is unique in the sense that each person delivers differently. It is also vastly different from written language, as you would see in emails, letters, newspapers, and even blog articles such as this.
Figuring out how to make a speech is very different from learning how to write an essay or any written piece that is not intended for speech. Therefore, you need to be conversational. Jot down your thoughts as you imagine yourself saying them out loud to an audience.
You can get away with long sentences in essays and books, but certainly not with speeches. Long sentences are hard to navigate when speaking. You have a more significant margin for error the longer your sentences are, and it is difficult to backtrack a word once you’ve already blurted it out.
If you want to make an impact or place emphasis on a particular passage, repeating phrases is a good idea. In poetic, figurative language, they call this Anaphora. You can see it in action in Winston Churchill’s “We Shall Fight Them on the Beaches,” where he repeatedly says the phrase “we shall fight” as a very compelling call-to-arms.
Think about your guy in the audience again. What vocabulary is he most familiar with? Is he a doctor who doesn’t mind scientific jargon? Or is he an IT-guy who feels at home when he hears technological terms?
Using familiar vocabulary in your speech will let your audience feel comfortable listening to you and will make you look like an authoritative figure who has all the right to speak publicly about the subject.
Transition words such as “otherwise,” however,” and “in addition,” are all important to make smooth transitions between ideas. Yet, the ideas themselves also have to transition smoothly, which is why you made an outline in the first place.
Step 4: End with a bang
How you end your speech will dictate how your audience will feel after they’ve walked away. You want to make it as memorable and as impactful as you can.
Your ending should ideally be a full summary of your entire speech. It may be challenging to jam a whole piece of content into an outro, especially if you had a long address. If that is the case, you can simply wrap up the main point of your entire speech.
To complete your ending, you need a call-to-action. You can deliver the best information and ideas throughout the speech, but that is entirely useless and unmemorable if your audience does not know what to do with it.
Step 5: Write your intro and polish
Finally, once you’ve penned down your entire piece, you can tie it all up with an intro. It may feel unusual to write it last, but the logic behind it is that after you finish the entire piece, you have a better sense of what kind of introduction will suit it best.
The introduction plays a crucial part in your speech as it is the determining factor that will decide if you will have an audience that is eager to listen or one that will just slump down on their chairs and fiddle with their phones.
Once you’ve penned down everything, you want to be sure you can remember it all. Public Speaking Memory Techniques helps you exercise your memory for effective and excellent public speaking.
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