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Let’s get real here, to give a speech is not easy for everyone, in fact though there are some that love the sound of their own voice, most do require a few key points to make sure they are ready.
Ask yourself these things:
- How long is the speech supposed to be?
If you are supposed to give a speech to a group or audience there will be someone who has asked you. Ask them how long they want you to speak for. If they say ‘just say a few words’, take that as no longer than 5 minutes. If they don’t say anything, make them pin down a time, it’s only fair.
- Do I understand the context?
Context is really about why you are speaking or why you have been asked to speak. If it is at a wedding, then you know the speech should be not too long, and friendly and funny. If it is to a group of angry people who want answers, you will need to make sure you understand what they need to hear, etc. This is understanding the context. The context affects everyone.
- Do I understand the content?
If you are asked to speak about a certain topic, make sure you have researched the information well, and understand that the information you say needs to be true. There is nothing more embarrassing when someone in the audience challenges you about the truth of what you say. So double check everything.
- What can I use as a hook?
A hook is something that gets the listener to sit up and listen right from the start. It can be a picture, a question, an activity you want them all to do first before you speak. Whatever it is make sure you get yourself something that will make them get engaged in your speech right from the start. A hook is also give to bring back in your closing remarks. The hook must be really about what your whole speech is about. E.g. Ask a question in the beginning, then answer the question in the end.
- What happens if I speak too long?
Good point, watch the clock and make sure you are pacing yourself too. No one wants to listen to something for too long if the speaker knows in their heart it’s time to sit down. So if you have taken longer than you expected, just politely state that, and move on quickly to cover the last points so you can finish in a good amount of time that is not too far off the finishing time. People will appreciate it.
- What is no one finds my speech interesting?
You can only know that from when you are speaking. Some audiences are just straight out cold, and it would take a bomb to warm them up, so don’t worry. Just move quickly through your points and finish gracefully. But of course you are going to pack your speech with so much interesting information, and be so animated on the stage, that this really won’t happen.
So there you have a few points to think about.